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The fifth day of Olympic track racing Friday saw Great Britain and the Netherlands claiming gold medals in the women’s Madison and men’s Sprint, and the Canadian women keeping their Sprint hopes alive in the qualifying rounds.
Great Britain dominated from start to finish in the inaugural Olympic women’s Madison as Laura Kenny won her fifth Olympic gold medal, making her the most successful female cyclist in the history of the Games.
Kenny and teammate Katie Archibald won nine of the race’s first 11 sprints, led the breakaway effort to lap the stragglers, and then won the final sprint to claim gold in the must-watch paired event.
Denmark’s Julie Leth and Amelie Dideriksen took silver, while the Russian Olympic Committee’s pair claimed bronze. The U.S team’s Megan Jastrab and Jennifer Valente finished ninth after failing to get a toehold in the race.
Harrie Lavreysen claimed Sprint gold in a thrilling three-round final against Dutch teammate Jeffrey Hoogland.
Lavreysen had lost the first race of three by a small margin and edged the second to set up the final decider. The reigning world champion despatched Hoogland with ruthless efficiency in the third race to claim gold.
The U.S. ace Maddy Godby did not make it through the early Sprint rounds. The 28-year-old punched through to the 1/16 round reps, but was subsequently bettered by Hong Kong powerhouse Lee Wai-sze in a close contest that knocked her out of the competition.
The Canadians Lauriane Genest and Kelsey Mitchell both made it through to Saturday’s 1/8 finals.
Women’s Madison final
The British duo took an early lead in the Madison’s battle for sprints, and never looked back.
Laura Kenny and Katie Archibald won the first three sprints and avoided a number of crashes that ensnarled Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, and Belgium in the first third of the race. The incidents saw pre-race contenders Germany and Belgium losing ground and eventually being lapped.
The British pair stayed at the front of the race and avoided the carnage as the collisions started taking their toll through the middle of the endurance event. Kenny and Archibald pushed out a huge lead over nearest rivals the Netherlands as they went on to win sprints five through 10.
Archibald was on fire throughout, fending off challenges from the Dutch duo. She then got away from the bunch with a French rider, and they went on a charge in a bid to gain a lap on the group before the Danes were able to latch on.
The Danes’ move saw them overhaul the Netherlands to slot into second. They then held off a late point-grabbing surge from the Russian Olympic Committee to secure silver.
Great Britain continued to charge through the final phase of the race before Kenny broke away in the final half lap to win the final sprint and secure her fifth career gold.
U.S. duo Megan Jastrab and Jennifer Valente stayed upright and in contention, but were rarely able to get their noses to the front. They gained a point in the third sprint and failed to score again. Unlike so many of their rivals, Jastrab and Valente avoided being lapped or crashing and finished ninth.
- Gold: Great Britain – 78
- Silver: Denmark – 35
- Bronze: Russian Olympic Committee – 26
Men’s Sprint final
The race for the Sprint finals was a thriller as the Dutchmen battled for supremacy.
Jeffrey Hoogland hit out early in the first round before holding off a late charge from world champion Harrie Lavreysen to win the first race.
Hoogland looked all-set to win the second race in a thrilling battle that saw Lavreysen battle back late to deny him the gold. Hoogland took a huge early lead before his teammate made a huge comeback to pip his countryman on the line and set up a third, deciding race.
Lavreysen put any doubts to bed with a crushing third round, pushing past Hoogland with a half-lap to go and accelerating from there to win gold in emphatic style.
The pair had also won the Team Sprint earlier this week.
Jack Carlin (Great Britain) took the early lead in the race for bronze against Denis Dmitriev (ROC) and clinched a thrilling second round to claim the third spot on the podium.
Hoogland had won his semi-final again Denis Dmitriev (ROC) 2-0.
Lavreysen bettered Carlin in two close-fought races to set up the all-Dutch final.
Men’s Sprint results:
- Gold: Harrie Lavreysen (Netherlands)
- Silver: Jeffrey Hoogland (Netherlands)
- Bronze: Jack Carlin (Great Britain)
Women’s Sprint qualifiers
Ellesse Andrews (New Zealand) got the session off to a roaring start in the qualifiers, setting a new Olympic record with a time of 10.563. The record didn’t last long before a swathe of racers went faster, with Lea Sophie Friedrich (Germany) setting the new fastest Olympic mark of 10.310.
U.S. speedster Maddy Godby faced off against the Lauriane Genest in her 1/32 heat but was unable to match the Canadian powerhouse and was forced into the repechages.
Godby promptly blasted back to qualify through the 1/32 repechages while Genest won her 1/16 round to qualify for Saturday’s races.
Godby’s Olympics came to an end in the 1/16 round after being beaten by Friedrich in the first race and then losing out to the strong Sze Lee (Hong Kong) in the repechages.
The Canadian world record holder Kelsey Mitchell beat Liubov Basova (Ukraine) in the 1/32 and neatly despatched Kaarle McCulloch (Australia) in the 1/16 to move through to Saturday’s 1/8 finals.
There was a heavyweight matchup in the 1/32 round. Shanne Braspennincx (Netherlands) beat China’s Shanju Bao, who went on to reverse her form with a 1/32 repechages win. Braspennincx went on to qualify for the 1/8s.
Qualified for 1/8 finals (Saturday):
- Friedrich (Germany)
- Mitchell (Canada)
- Hinze (Germany)
- Gros (France)
- Genest (Canada)
- Starikova (Ukraine)
- Braspennincx (Netherlands)
- Marchant (Great Britain)
- Lee (Hong Kong)
- Zhong (China)
- Andrews (New Zealand)
- Voinova (Russian Olympic Committee)