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."

Related items

  • IOC opens door to Russian and Belarusian athletes at Paris 2024 amid war in Ukraine IOC opens door to Russian and Belarusian athletes at Paris 2024 amid war in Ukraine

    The International Olympic Committee is considering whether to include Russian and Belarusian athletes under a neutral flag at Paris 2024.

    The two nations are currently banned following the IOC calling on federations to exclude them amid the former's invasion of Ukraine last year.

    On Wednesday, the IOC confirmed they intend to uphold sanctions against state and government officials ahead of next year's games.

    But in a statement, they acknowledged they would explore opportunities for athletes from both nations to compete in France.

    "No athlete should be prevented from competing just because of their passport," the organisation's executive board said.

    "[They would be] neutral athletes and in no way represent their state or any other organisation in their country.

    “No flag, anthem, colours or any other identifications whatsoever of these countries being displayed at any sports event or meeting, including the entire venue."

    The move has been met with criticism however, and comes just weeks after Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelensky called for athletes to remain barred.

    A joint statement from Athletes for Ukraine and athlete association Global Athlete argued any decision to relax sanctions would endorse the war in Ukraine.

    "The return of Russian and Belarusian athletes to international competition, especially the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, will see the Russian state use athletes once more to bolster the war effort," they said.

    "[This will] distract from the atrocities in Ukraine on one of the biggest multi-sport stages in the world."

    Russian athletes competed under the flag of the Russian Olympic Committee at Tokyo 2020 after the nation was officially banned following multiple doping scandals.

  • Legendary sprinter Cavendish makes Astana move Legendary sprinter Cavendish makes Astana move

    Mark Cavendish has joined Astana for a 2023 campaign in which he will be hoping to make history at the Tour de France.

    Legendary sprinter Cavendish left Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl last year, but the Brit will continue his illustrious career with Kazakh team Astana.

    The 37-year-old from the Isle of Man was not selected for the 2022 Tour de France, denying him the opportunity to surpass a record tally of 34 stage wins in the most prestigious Grand Tour race that he shares with the great Eddy Merckx.

    Cavendish will have high hopes of taking the record outright this year with his new team.

    He said: "I am really excited for this adventure. I raced with Alexandr Vinokurov for many years, and now I'm racing with his two boys!

    "I remember when they were children the same age as my own, dreaming to be bike racers.

    "Astana is going to be a great place to be successful, with a strong team led by Alexandr, a champion on the bike and a gentleman off the bike.

    "I've enjoyed a long career already, but the joy of riding my bike and the hunger to continue winning are as bright as ever.

    "So I'm looking forward to being part of a successful team, whether working with the team for wins, crossing the line first myself, or cheering on my team-mates. As always, the objective will be for us to stand on the top podium."

    While Cavendish was overlooked for the Tour de France, he was able to win the Milano-Torino as well as Giro d'Italia, Tour of Oman and UAE Tour stages.

  • Tour de France to start in Italy for first time in 2024 as Paris finale changed due to Olympics Tour de France to start in Italy for first time in 2024 as Paris finale changed due to Olympics

    The 2024 edition of the Tour de France will start in Italy for the first time in the race's history, organisers The Amaury Sport Organisation has confirmed.

    Florence will mark the starting point of the 111th edition of the famous competition, to commemorate 100 years since Ottavio Bottecchia became the first Italian won Le Tour.

    After racing to Rimini, further stages from Cesenatico to Bologna and Piacenza to Turin will follow, with the event also set to finish away from Paris for the first time.

    The iconic Champs-Elysees finale will be replaced by a closing stage in Nice due to the 2024 Olympic ceremony occurring in the capital just days later.

    It will also be the first time since 1989 the event has concluded with a time-trial finish, as opposed to the usual procession through the streets of Paris.

    "The Tour has started from all the countries bordering France," said Le Tour director Christian Prudhomme.

    "It has even started six times from the Netherlands, which has no common border with France. But it has never started from Italy.

    "It's an incongruity that will disappear."

    The 2023 edition will begin in Bilbao, Spain on July 1 and finish in Paris 22 days later, with Jonas Vingegaard out to defend his crown.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.