Great Britain's Tom Pidcock strikes gold in men's cycling mountain bike

Thomas Pidcock of Team Great Britain celebrates winning the gold medal while holding the flag of his country during the Men's Cross-country race on day three of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Izu Mountain Bike Course on July 26, 2021 in Izu, Shizuoka, Japan. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Thomas Pidcock of Team Great Britain celebrates winning the gold medal while holding the flag of his country during the Men's Cross-country race on day three of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Izu Mountain Bike Course on July 26, 2021 in Izu, Shizuoka, Japan. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

The 21-year-old finished the race in 1:25.14, with Switzerland's Mathias Flückiger in second and Spain's David Valero taking bronze. 

British cyclist Tom Pidcock has won the Olympic gold medal with a scintillating performance in the cycling mountain bike race. The 21-year-old gold medallist - who celebrates his birthday in four days on 30 July - will now have even more reason to celebrate after he took the Olympic title in Izu, located to the west of Tokyo. He kept his nerve to win the gruelling 28.25km race ahead of Swiss rider Mathias Flückiger and Spain's David Velero.

Pidcock, who won the U23 cross country world championship in 2020, began the race close to the back of the field before gaining 26 positions on the start loop.

By the fourth lap of the course, which began with a short 1.3km start loop followed by seven 3.85km laps, Pidcock had moved to the front, stretching his lead to an unassailable distance before riding to victory 20 seconds ahead of the second-place rider.

His gold medal is Great Britain's third of the day, following wins for swimmer Adam Peaty in the 100m breaststroke and Tom Daley and Matty Lee in the 10m synchronised diving.

A versatile talent with the world at his feet

Pidcock's rise to the top of the sport has been nothing short of sensational. The Leeds-based rider has crammed a lot into his short but successful career, including a second-place finish at the Amstel Gold Cup - a prestigious road race event. This year, he won the second round of the 2021 Mountain Bike World Cup in Nové Město, Czech Republic before breaking his collar bone in a crash during training.

After the race, an elated Pidcock spoke about the pride he felt after becoming Olympic champion. "It's nothing like any other race. The Olympics just transcends any sport. You compete and represent your country and everyone in your country is behind you, no matter in what sports they like. It's just national pride, it's unbelievable," he said.

Whether his future lies in mountain bike or road cycling, only Pidcock can answer. However, it will be hard - if not impossible - for anything to beat this glorious moment at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.