Tokyo Olympics: Great Danes land madison title as Morkov's moment finally arrives

By Sports Desk August 07, 2021

Michael Morkov and Lasse Norman Hansen added Olympic gold to their World Championship title as Denmark were crowned kings of the Tokyo 2020 men's madison.

Great Britain took silver and France the bronze in the Izu Velodrome, but Denmark again proved they are masters of the event, with their riders adding to the silver they captured in team pursuit.

Having served as Deceuninck-QuickStep’s lead-out man in the Tour de France, helping Mark Cavendish secure the four stage wins that took him level with the great Eddy Merckx, this was another standout moment for Morkov, and it was his day to scoop big-stage glory.

He and Hansen landed the madison world title in March of last year, before lockdown hit much of Europe, and now they have gold at the Olympics to their name.

The British duo of Ethan Hayter and omnium gold medallist Matt Walls finished strongly to snatch second place by landing the double-points final sprint.

France, who had led the gold medal chase with six sprints remaining, were reeled in and forced to settle for third.

Morkov said: "I know we won the race but it's hard to believe now. We were the main favourite. Lasse and I won all the medals we ever did together internationally. We know we had a good shot at this but it came very close.

"Actually I knew it 10 laps out because we were leading with 11 points. We had the French with us and the British were off the road, they could maximum take 10 points. So it was kind of a sweet finish even though it was very, very hard because it was our chase, but still I wanted to look at the board in the end to get it confirmed.

"I had in mind all the time our Danish badminton player Viktor Axelsen, who won an amazing gold medal a week ago, and he was a big inspiration for me today."

The madison had been off the Olympic programme since 2008 until its return this year, with Morkov finishing sixth in the event in Beijing 13 years ago alongside Alex Rasmussen, when the Danes had higher ambitions.

Morkov described the move to scratch the madison from the 2012 and 2016 Olympics as "a big bummer", given his prowess in the event.

"But in 2017 when I heard it was back on the programme, I was in no doubt that this would be my shot at an Olympic medal," the 36-year-old said.

Hansen, 29, savoured the moment, saying of Morkov: "Man, he's been one of my idols since I started riding on the tracks, so it means a lot to stand here beside him."

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