Great Britain's Matt Walls wins men's omnium

Matt Walls has won Team GB's first gold medal in cycling at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 with victory in the men's omnium.

Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Great Britain's Matt Walls is the new Olympic champion in men's omnium after a stellar afternoon of riding at Izu Velodrome.

Walls (153 points) finished 29 points ahead of New Zealand's Campbell Stewart (129 points) who took silver with Italy's Elia Viviani (124 points) settling for bronze.

While Great Britain have previously won two medals in the event with Edward Clancy (bronze at London 2012) and Mark Cavendish (silver at Rio 2016), it's the first time they've taken gold.

Known for dominating the track cycling with 35 gold medals, the third most by any nation of all-time, it was only Wall's medal also signalled Great Britain's first gold in track cycling of Tokyo 2020

"It means a lot. It's pretty cool to be the first one to get the gold," Walls said. "Its been carnage basically this Olympics but it's really cool to come away with the gold."

With the men's omnium appearing just for just the third time at the Olympic Games, the event features four races: the scratch, tempo (a new race for Tokyo 2020), the elimination and lastly the points.

After strong finishes in the scratch (first - 40 points), tempo (third - 36 points) and the elimination (second - 38 points), Walls headed into the points race - a 100 lap race with 10 sprints where cyclist can earn points - had a narrow lead over the Netherlands Jan Willem van Schip and France's Benjamin Thomas.

With 30 laps to go, only riders in the top 10 had managed to score points as Viviani, the reigning Olympic champion in the event, put the pressure on Walls, who had a 28 point advantage overall on the Italian.

"I got a bit of a gap and thought 'oh well, I'll commit to it now'," Walls said. "But the legs hurt after that for sure and there was still quite a long way to go. I wasn't to sure if that was going to work out or not but it worked out in the end."

As for Viviani, who was in the silver medal position, he was pipped for second late on by Stewart and pushed down to the bronze medal position.


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