Britain’s Matt Walls wins gold in Tokyo 2020 Olympic Omnium, Elia Viviani claims bronze

Walls takes the first gold for Team GB on the track

Matt Walls wins Olympic gold in the Omnium
Matt Walls wins Olympic gold in the Omnium
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty)

Britain’s Matt Walls was unshakeable in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic men’s Omnium to win gold.

The Team GB rider put himself in great position by winning the opening scratch race, battled to a strong finish in the elimination race and secured the top spot with an assured performance in the final points race to decide the medals.

Italy’s Elia Viviani had a flying final race to move up into the silver medal position, before he lost the place in the last laps, eventually taking bronze.

It was New Zealand’s Campbell Stewart who put in his own phenomenal effort in the final event to leapfrog Viviani and secure the silver medal.

How it happened

The Omnium in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics was fought over four events - the scratch race, the tempo race, the elimination race and the final points race. 

Matt Walls from Team GB put himself in the driving seat in the first event, a standard 40-lap race, gaining a lap mid-way through the event and then putting himself near the front of the bunch again to secure the win, putting him into the overall lead ahead of Jan Willem van Schip (Netherlands) and Benjamin Thomas (France).

In the second event, the tempo race, where points are awarded to the first rider across the line on every lap, Walls kept himself out of trouble but Thomas and Van Schip made gains, as all three riders were tied after the second event. 

Olympic cycling disciplines: Madison / team pursuit / omnium / track sprint  / Keirin / team sprint 

Then into the elimination race, Walls was in flying form as he led he bunch for most of the race, until just a handful of riders remained, including Thomas, Van Schip and Viviani.

Walls then dropped back and began to pick off individual riders at the line, as eventually the race came down to just Walls and Viviani.

It was the latter who comfortably sprinted to take the win, but Walls had done enough to move back into the lead. 

Heading into the final event, Walls was in the gold medal spot on 114 points, followed by Van Schip on 110 and Thomas on 106.

But it was all to play for in the points race, with a sprint every 10 laps and with any points earned being added to a rider's tally in the overall competition. 

After gaining an early lap and scoring 20 points, Walls put himself further out of reach for his rivals, but it was a storming performance from Elia Viviani that then stole the attention, as he catapulted himself into the silver medal spot with a lap gain. 

>>> Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games cycling schedule: when to watch the racing 

Walls continued to make small gains and as the sprints passed by it became clear that no-one could catch the 23-year-old without taking a lap, so he began to mark out his rivals into the final few laps. 

While Viviani wasn't able to make a dent in Walls' lead, it was New Zealands Campbell Stewart who put in a late surge to steal a lap, with the 20 points putting him ahead of Viviani and into the silver medal spot. 

Walls came across the line to comfortably secure his gold medal, Stewart taking silver and Viviani casting a dejected figure after taking the bronze. 

Tokyo 2020 Olympics men's Omnium results 

1. Matt Walls (Great Britain), 153pts
2. Campbell Stewart (New Zealand), 129pts
3. Elia Viviani (Italy), 124pts 
4. Benjamin Thomas (Fra), 118pts
5. Niklas Larsen (Den), 113pts
6. Jan Willem van Schip (Ned), 112pts
7. Thery Schir (Sui), 109pts
8. Gavin Hoover (USA), 99pts
9. Roger Kluge (Ger), at 91pts
10. Albert Torres Barcelo (Esp), 84pts 

Alex Ballinger
Alex Ballinger

Alex is the digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter and now as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output.

Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) and joining CW in 2018, Alex has covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. 

Away from journalism, Alex is a national level time triallist, avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.