Matt Walls won gold in the Olympic men’s omnium to deliver Great Britain’s first title in the velodrome of these Games.
The 23-year-old rode smartly throughout the four-discipline event to win with a comfortable final margin of 24 points from Campbell Stewart of New Zealand.
Walls, who won the opening scratch race, went into the deciding points race with a narrow advantage of just six points but gained a lap on the field early on to take control, and could then mark his rivals for the remainder of the 100-lap event.
Walls, from Oldham, started superbly after gaining a lap just before the second sprint, seeing him gain 25 points in total and putting pressure on the rest of the pack early on.
It saw the Team GB star open up a 29-point lead and take full control after just a few completed sprints.
Matt Walls is an Olympic champion after securing the gold medal in the men’s omnium
The 23-year-old delivered Great Britain’s first title in the velodrome of these Games
Team GB’s Matt Walls (right) wins the gold medal in the men’s track cycling omnium
Benjamin Thomas, who started the session third, tried to narrow the deficit to Walls after nipping to the front but Walls kept his composure out in front.
Ahead of the sixth sprint, Walls was in cruise control with a 38-point lead and the Team GB would go on to extend it by another five after winning the sprint.
With the laps dwindling, Walls kept the pace but got his tactics spot on to make sure he kept the likes of Italy’s Elia Viviani and France’s Benjamin Thomas at arm’s length.
Walls finished the omnium in style and secured the Olympic crown in style, beating defending Viviani with 154 points on Thursday.
The Team GB star revealed he was delighted with his performance, having opened up a bit of a cushion going into the final race.
Walls dominated from start to finish and never looked threatened over the 100-lap race
‘I managed to get a good lead coming into the end. It’s been a hard day but I came into that points race with a bit of a lead and breathing room,’ Walls told BBC Sport.
‘Thank you to all my family and friends, I wouldn’t be here without them, especially my parents.’
Walls had won the opening event in the omnium, edging a five-rider sprint at the end of the 40-lap scratch race at the Izu Velodrome earlier in the day.
Walls, a bronze medallist at the 2020 world championships, closed down an initial four-man attack which included Denmark’s Niklas Larsen and produced a surging finish to take 40 points to set him up perfectly for the final race.
More to follow