Host City: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Venue(s): Rio Olympic Velodrome, Barra Olympic Park, Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro
Date Started: August 11, 2016
Date Finished: August 12, 2016
Form lines from recent World Championships suggested the Olympic tournament would be decided between Australia and Great Britain in a repeat of Olympic finals from 2004 and 2012. Bullish reports from the British camp had even suggested that they were producing practice times that were under their existing world record in the weeks before the Games began. The Aussies had been the most consistent team since the London Games, but Great Britain had recently regained the services of [Bradley Wiggins] since his retirement from road cycling. The British were the penultimate starters in the qualifying round and they immediately threw down a challenge to the rest of the world by posting a time only marginally outside their own world record. Up next were the Australians who could not match the British time and only narrowly avoided having to meet them in the semi-final.
The semi-finals were contrasting affairs. Great Britain set a world record in their crushing victory over New Zealand in the first, but the second was a classic. Denmark and Australia traded the lead over the course of the race and there was only a tenth of a second in favour of the Aussies when they crossed the line for the final time.
Having been three seconds slower than the British in their previous rides, Australia decided to gamble in the final and set off at a speed they had not approached previously. For 3.5 km they led but the effort proved just a little too much for them and they faded over the last two laps. Even then there was nearly a final sting in the tail. With both teams reduced to three riders on the final lap the British began to drop their final counting rider. A huge effort brought him back to the other pair and it was enough to shave another three tenths of a second off the world record. Australiaâs time would have been the world record at the start of the day. Denmark, meanwhile, had little trouble defeating New Zealand for the bronze medal. For Bradley Wiggins this was his eighth Olympic medal over the course of five Olympic Games, a British record, and fifth Olympic title. Another member of the GBR team, [Ed Clancy], became the most successful rider in the history of the event on winning his third successive gold.