Olympics-Cycling-Netherlands end British stranglehold on men's team sprint


Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Cycling - Track - Men's Team Sprint - Gold Final - Izu Velodrome, Shizuoka, Japan - August 3, 2021. Team Netherlands celebrate after winning gold. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

IZU, Japan (Reuters) -The Netherlands won the gold medal in the Olympic men's team sprint at the Izu Velodrome on Tuesday, outclassing three-times defending champions Britain with a dominant display in the final.

The Dutch trio of Roy van den Berg, Harrie Lavreysen and Jeffrey Hoogland stepped up their intensity over the final two laps to secure victory in an Olympic record time of 41.369 seconds, over three seconds ahead Britain.

There was some consolation for Briton Jason Kenny, who picked up his eighth medal to become his country's most decorated Olympian.

Kenny, the sole British rider left from their last three Olympic triumphs, was left with far too much work to do going into the final lap and was forced to settle for silver alongside team mates Ryan Owens and Jack Carlin.

The 33-year-old drew level with fellow cyclist Bradley Wiggins in the overall British all-time medals tally, but has one more gold (six) to his name than his former team mate.

"Every time you come back it gets harder," Kenny told reporters.

"We knew we had ground to make up and I just had nothing in the final. I was rubbish but we tried so hard to get there."

The Dutch team lived up to their billing as favourites, having won the previous three world titles in the discipline.

Although their last Olympic gold in a men's track cycling event came in 1936, the Dutch looked confident from the start as they broke the Games record to finish fastest in qualifying.

Only minutes later, the Dutch went even faster to crush Poland in a heat as they booked a place in the gold medal decider.

In the final, it was Hoogland who brought it home in grand style for the Dutch on the final stretch, as Kenny lost contact to end British hopes.

"I'm so proud of our team and our staff that we have accomplished our goal, which we had set many years ago," Van den Berg told reporters.

"We are three-time world champions and double world record holders. To put it all on the line... and show it here at the Olympic Games is really amazing."

In the third place decider, the French team of Florian Grengbo, Sebastien Vigier and Rayan Helal defeated Australia to secure their second consecutive Olympic bronze in the discipline.

(Reporting by Shiho Tanaka; Writing by Hardik Vyas, editing by Ed Osmond)

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