Eighteen Olympic titles for cycling were awarded over the 16 days of competition for our sport at the Rio 2016 Games. But beyond the gold medals, our four Olympic disciplines (road, track, BMX, mountain bike) offered us unforgettable performances, revealed some original characters and produced strong emotions. We have selected just some of the “Golden Moments” from cycling at Rio.
Golden Save: Laurine van Riessen (NED)
The insane wall ride! She may not have finished with gold around her neck but she sure demonstrated she has what it takes when it comes to bike handling skills. Laurine van Riessen added a new dimension to track cycling when she rode up the track’s barrier to avoid colliding with France’s Virginie Cueff, who had swerved up to the top of the track in attempt to avoid another crash. An aspiring X Games candidate?
Golden First: Azizulhasni Awang (MAS)
In his third Olympic Games participation, the Malaysian “pocket rocket” claimed his country’s first ever cycling Olympic medal, with bronze in the keirin. Four-time medallist at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships since 2009, Awang became a crowd favourite in 2011 after returning to his bike after a crash on the Manchester velodrome and heroically finishing the keirin with a 20cm splinter planted through his calf muscle. Now he will be known for his Rio 2016 bronze medal.
Golden Moment: Polish support
Former UCI World Champion in the road race Michał Kwiatkowski did not manage to leave his mark on the Rio 2016 course, but the next day he was out on the road again to encourage his Polish team mates in the women’s race. #teamspirit
Golden Comic: Dan from Nam
Namibia’s Dan Craven had the world in stitches with his “live” tweets from within the Men’s road race peloton. Fans were left puzzled after reading comical tweets such as “Hola amigos. I'm in the breakaway. Or trying to be, at least” and “Oh my legs. Mid peloton now over the climb. Is it beer o'clock yet?” Turns out it was his girlfriend tweeting from his account.
Golden Couple: Jason Kenny and Laura Trott (GBR)
Great Britain’s Jason Kenny and Laura Trott have become the most decorated couple in Olympic history, with both doubling their haul of gold medals in Rio 2016. Kenny added three track cycling golds to the three he won in London 2012 while Trott doubled her golds from two to four. The pair reportedly plans to marry before Tokyo 2020 but, according to Trott will wait until after the next Olympics to start a family. “Our kids have to get some of these genes right?!,” she tweeted.
Golden Double: Mariana Pajón (COL)
Nicknamed the “Queen of BMX,” Mariana Pajón lived up to expectations to deliver a no-faults performance in the BMX competitions. Her second Olympic gold after London 2012 delighted not only the Colombian fans but a much wider public which has been won over by this bubbly personality with a smile as big as her talent.
Golden Team: Great Britain’s track squad
You have to hand it to them. There is no denying that they know how to pull out all the stops for the big meets. After dominating proceedings at London 2012, Team GB lost two of its stars (Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton) to retirement. Although the British were more discreet in the seasons that followed, they gradually built up to once again take an Olympic velodrome by storm: Six Olympic titles, two world records and an Olympic record.
Golden Celebration: Nino Schurter (SUI)
Bronze in Beijing 2008, silver in London 2012… the next step was logical in theory. And Nino Schurter delivered a text book performance to claim the only victory missing from his impressive list of achievements. His gold in the Men’s mountain bike race was something he had been waiting for and working towards for many years and his comfortable lead meant he was able to celebrate and savour the moment several hundred metres before the finish line.
Golden Fans: Colombia
Colombia again demonstrated that it has big champions and…. a big public! The 7500 seats at the BMX Park were full of the yellow-blue-red colours of Colombia to support Mariana Pajon and her team mates. When Pajon successfully defended her Olympic title and Carlos Ramirez finished third in the Men’s race, the Cafeteros exploded with joy, before uniting their voices for Colombia’s national anthem. An unforgettable moment of harmony and togetherness.
Golden Finish : Women’s Road race
What a final! After Annemiek van Vleuten’s extremely unfortunate crash, it looked as if the American Mara Abbott had the race wrapped up. But she is a climber and the 10km of flat proved fatal. Her chasers Anna van den Breggen (NED), Emma Johansson (SWE) and Elisa Borghini (ITA) gradually made up ground and overtook Abbott…. in the last 150 metres, finishing on the podium in that order.