Tom Pidcock produces phenomenal performance to win Team GB mountain biking gold
Tom Pidcock has stormed to victory in the men’s Olympic mountain bike race in Izu - claiming the gold medal for Team GB.
Tom Pidcock's victory comes as divers Tom Daly, Matty Lee and swimmer Adam Peaty have also claimed gold medals in a day dubbed 'magic Monday'.
Having already collected junior or under-23 world titles in cyclo-cross, mountain biking and on the road, the 21-year-old Yorkshireman took things to another level with an Olympic crown on 26 July as he rode clear of the field, having time to grab a Union flag and hold it aloft as he crossed the line.
Even with the celebrations, his margin of victory was 20 seconds over world number one Mathias Flueckiger – the only man who had looked capable of staying in touching distance once Pidcock had made his move midway through the 28.25km race.
The watching crowd – not subject to the same restrictions as those in Tokyo – were denied the hotly anticipated battle with Mathieu van der Poel, who crashed heavily in front of Pidcock early in the race before withdrawing on the fifth lap, but they were still treated to a phenomenal performance.
Pidcock, whose qualification for the event was only confirmed late on because of his commitments in other disciplines, started on the fourth row but wasted no time in getting himself into a leading group.
Tucked in behind Flueckiger and the other Swiss rider Nino Schurter, Pidcock made his move with 17km to go as he charged to the front, then kept the power down as his rivals one-by-one slipped back.
Racing less than two months after breaking his collarbone in a training crash on the road, Pidcock looked in supreme form as others tired in the hot and humid conditions.
Flueckiger stayed just behind Pidcock as long as he could but a slip on the fifth lap opened up a gap from which he never recovered.
As Pidcock rounded the bend on to the finishing line he grabbed a Union flag from a spectator to begin his celebrations, then embraced coach Kurt Bogaerts after crossing the line.
When asked how it felt to win gold, Pidcock told Eurosport: “Not real really. It’s pretty crazy that I became an Olympian and I was trying to tell myself at the start of the race it’s special just to be here.”
A version of this article originally appeared on NationalWorld.com