Izu Peninsula — Britain’s Tom Pidcock won the gold medal on the Izu course on Monday, leaving his rivals in a cloud of dust to become the youngest Olympic mountain bike champion in history.
The relentless 21-year-old, who was 21 years old, took control after four laps on the 4.1km Izu circuit and won the Swiss Mathias Flückiger by 20 seconds.
With Yorkshire Man far away, he even had time to grab the British Union Flag when he crossed the finish line in front of an allowed enthusiastic crowd.
“When I control myself, I always get better. I take my line, my speed. From the start, I’m fine, nervous and focused on the race,” he said.
“It’s not like any other race. The Olympics transcend any sport. You compete, represent your country, and everyone in your country likes what sport they like. Behind you no matter what. It’s just the pride of the people and it’s incredible. “
Pidcock, an Ineos Grenadiers road racer and future Grand Tour champion, arrived at the tournament with a broken clavicle during training last month.
This victory brought a surprising turnaround for Leeds-born riders who prepared for the climate in a heated tent in a spare room at their home in England.
“I trained really hard. I knew I was in great shape, but I always have doubts when I’m not racing.”
His favorite pre-race Mathieu van der Pol, who spent several days in a yellow jersey in the recent Tour de France, shattered his hopes with a disappointing first lap crash for two consecutive days by the Dutch cycling team.
He flew over the handlebars of the bike after making a steep landing on one of the boulder sections cluttering the technical and undulating course. Tattered and hurt, he resumed and built some ground, but stopped on lap 5 and appeared distraught.
Van der Pol erroneously believed that there was a ramp over the rock, but later said on Twitter that he was taken to the hospital for a scan of a hip injury.
“He went so slowly that I knew it wouldn’t end well, so I retreated,” Pidcock, who was right behind the incident, later told reporters.
One of the inform riders who won two World Cup wins this season, Frucchiger, was in contact with Pidcock during the opening four laps, but due to a misjudgment on a rocky uphill, he got off the bike I had to get off and lost momentum.
“I made two mistakes a lap in the middle of the race,” he said. “After losing the front wheels, I got off the bike, lost traction on a steep uphill, had to walk again, and lost another 6-7 seconds.”
Spain’s David Valero Serrano defeated defending champion Nino Schurter with a bronze medal. Swiss veterans failed to win medals for the first time in the four Olympics.
Pidcock was adjusting the road season, especially with the Olympic cross-country race in mind, but the clavicle fracture questioned the possibility of joining the world with the 23 titles he claimed in the field last year. ..
But he didn’t stop him on Monday as he emphasized his qualifications as one of the most exciting talents in cycling.
“I have great expectations for myself, but I have achieved it,” said Pidcock, Britain’s first Olympic mountain bike medalist.
Asked what the future holds and whether he can rival Van der Paul’s feat on the streets, he said: I’m an Olympic champion, so I’m obviously not doing anything wrong. I enjoy this first. “