Tom Pidcock powers to Tokyo 2020 Olympic gold in mountain bike event

The 21-year-old claims the first cycling medal for Team GB

Tom Pidcock wins Olympic gold
Tom Pidcock wins Olympic gold
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Tom Pidcock dominated the field in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic men’s mountain bike event, taking the first cycling gold for Team GB.  

The MTB race, held on Monday (July 26) was fought on the challenging Izu MTB Course, over 4km laps with around 180 metres of elevation gain. 

The race distance came to 28.25km, after seven full laps of the course. 

After holding his position in the lead group in the opening section of the race, Pidcock launched his decisive attack, powering clear of Switzerland’s Mathias Flückiger. 

Meanwhile pre-race favourite Mathieu van der Poel suffered a huge crash in the big rock section of the course, going over the bars and eventually abandoning the race due to his injuries. 

After just over one hour and 20 minutes of racing, Pidcock crossed the line with a 20-second gap to Flückiger.

How it happened

Pidcock started the race with a gap to close immediately as he wasn't in the front row of the grid, but he had already powered his way up towards the front by the first turn and onto the first climb he was into the top-10. 

After the first lap, Pidcock had made it into an elite 15-rider group, which also featured Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) and Mathias Flückiger (Switzerland). 

Van der Poel's crash was the next decisive moment of the race just 10 minutes after the start, as he made a mistake on the rock drop and went over the bars. 

Pidcock had been on Van der Poel's wheel going off the drop, but managed to avoid his rival and press on in the leading group. 

Van der Poel got back on the bike, but was never in contention again and eventually abandoned. 

After 20 minutes of racing, it was Nino Schurter (Switzerland) who led the race, with Pidcock still in the leading group.

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

 The Yorkshireman's attack then came 44-minutes into the race as he was able to distance Flückiger and Schurter. 

Pidcock would not be seen again by his rivals, continuing to ride away and crossing the line alone, with a time of 1-25-14, Flückiger 20 seconds behind claiming silver, and Spain's David Valero Serrano finishing in the bronze medal spot, 34 seconds behind the winner. 

Tokyo 2020 Olympics, men's mountain bike (28.25km) 

1. Tom Pidcock (GBr), in 1-25-14
2. Mathias Flückiger (Sui), at 20s
3. David Serrano Valer (Esp), at 34s
4. Nino Schurter (Sui), at 42s
5. Victor Koretzky (Fran), at 46s
6. Anton Cooper (Nzl), at same time
7. Vlad Dascalu (Rou), at 49s
8. Alan Hatherly (RSA), at 1-19
9. Jordan Sarrou (Fra), at 1-36
10. Milan Vader Ned), at 2-07

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.