The Dutch cycling team’s bad luck at these Olympics seems to finally be fading. Jeffrey Hoogland and Harrie Lavreysen of the Netherlands battled it out for the gold medal, with Lavreysen finishing first and Hoogland coming in second, while British rider Jack Carlin rounded off the podium in third.
At the Rio 2016 Olympics, British riders Jason Kenny and Callum Skinner won gold and silver respectively, with Russian Olympic Committee cyclist Denis Dmitriev finishing third. Kenny returned to the event in Tokyo to attempt to defend his gold medal, but was eliminated by the quarter-finals by Lavreysen.
On Friday, the men’s sprint semifinals kicked off with the last standing final four of the 30 riders who started the event. Lavreysen was matched with Great Britain’s Jack Carlin, while another Dutch rider, Jeffrey Hoogland, was matched with Dmitriev.
The ROC and British athletes were not able to beat the cyclists from the Netherlands and were sent to the bronze medal final. The Dutch riders, both guaranteed an Olympic medal, would have to face each other in the gold medal final.
Dmitriev came out first when matched against 2016 gold medalist Kenny, and he also got past Nicholas Paul of Trinidad and Tobago, the world record holder in the event. Despite his strong performances, the ROC rider was unable to win a second bronze medal in the even, as Carlin solidly took the win.
British cyclists have medaled in the sprint the last four Olympic Games, and Carlin was able to continue the tradition, beating Dmitriev in the bronze medal final. Though it’s only Carlin’s first Olympics, his medal collection is growing—he also won silver in the team sprint.
Gold (orange) final
The Dutch teammates were extremely closely matched in speed and power in the gold medal final. 28-year old Hoogland won the first match, but Lavreysen, the world champion in the event, won the second match, forcing the riders to race a third time to determine the winner.
The third and final match saw Hoogland take the lead early but Lavreysen ultimately powered past him, winning the Olympic gold.