Tokyo 2020 turns to the velodrome on Monday as cycling’s speed demons get set to battle for 12 gold medals on the track. Britain dominated five years ago in Rio by winning 12 medals, including six golds, but the field promises to be far more open in Japan. AFP Sport takes a look at five riders to look out for during the week:
Harrie Lavreysen Netherlands
Lavreysen has led the Dutch dominance of sprint events since Rio, winning the sprint and team sprint at the last two world championships, while adding another gold medal in the keirin in Berlin. The 24-year-old owns six world titles overall and will surely be the main challenger for Jason Kenny’s sprint king crown in Japan.
Laura Kenny Britain
Laura Kenny has her 100 per cent Olympic record to defend in Shizuoka, having won four gold medals from four events entered, making her already Britain’s most successful female Olympian. Kenny swept golds in the team pursuit and omnium in both London and Rio and she is expected to repeat both events in Japan, while adding the newly-added madison to her list.
Elia Viviani Italy
Viviani clinched gold in the men’s omnium in trying circumstances in Rio as he recovered from a crash in the points race to claim his first Olympic medal. Viviani, who rides for Cofidis on the road and boasts nine grand tour stage victories, will also be competing in the madison as the 32-year-old looks to lead Italy to glory on the track.
Yumi Kajihara Japan
Kajihara will be among the favourites in the women’s omnium after becoming Japan’s first female world cycling champion at the world championships in Berlin last year. This will be her first Olympics and while there may not be a full crowd behind her at the Izu Velodrome, she will be one of the host nation’s best medal hopes.
Ed Clancy Britain
Clancy has gone under the radar in recent years, overshadowed by his illustrious teammate Jason Kenny, but the 36-year-old is looking to win team pursuit gold at his fourth consecutive Olympics. Clancy also owns an omnium bronze from London 2012, meaning he will be chasing his fifth medal for Britain in what he has said will be his last Olympic Games.