Hoover Omnium Tokyo 1130x600

Gavin Hoover Rides to Best American Olympic Omnium Finish in Eighth Place

By: Angelina Palermo  August 05, 2021

Maddie Godby First American Woman to compete in Keirin at the Games.

Day four of the Olympic Track Cycling started with the men’s omnium. Riders raced four races throughout the event; the Scratch, Tempo, Elimination, and Points. The best overall rider is taken from all the events to crown an Olympic Champion at the end of the day.

Gavin Hoover (Manhattan Beach, Calif.; Elevate-Webiplex Pro Cycling) raced for Team USA in the Men’s Omnium. The first person to cross the line in the Scratch is the winner, and Hoover rode to a solid 10th place finish in a stacked field.

Gavin Hoover as he races the Men's Omnium at the Izu Velodrome. Photo: Casey Gibson
Gavin Hoover as he races the Men's Omnium at the Izu Velodrome. Photo: Casey Gibson

The next event was the Tempo, where Hoover won sprints 12 and 29, giving him a point in each. Several groups went off the front as the field broke up midway through the race, lapping the field. Hoover attacked, creating a third chase group with Spanish rider Albert Torres Barcelo lapping the field, earning 20 more points, moving him into a tie for fourth, only one point down from the tie for first. Hoover finished the race with 22 points earning him fifth place.

In the Elimination, the last rider from every other lap was pulled until only one rider was left. Hoover rode a smart race in the Elimination, finishing 11th in the event. That put him in eighth place in the overall standings with one more race to go, the Points.

The Points Race starts with the riders’ total points from the first three events, then the points won throughout the race are added to that total. Hoover started the race in eighth with 74 points. At the first sprint, he was third, getting two points, then with an attack going into the second sprint, he scored three more points. After gaining the points in the second sprint, he and Matthew Walls (GBR) lapped the field, grabbing 20 more points. At that point, Hoover was sitting at fourth in the overall with still quite a bit of racing left. Hoover held on and stuck with a lot of the moves made throughout the race but was unable to grab more points. He finished up in eighth place with a total of 99 points. The result is the best the U.S. has ever done in the Men’s Omnium, beating out the 12th place result from Bobby Lea’s performance at the discipline’s Olympic debut in London 2012. The gold medal went to Walls, who finished with 153 points, 24 points ahead of second.

USA Cycling Coach Rob Stanley was ecstatic over the way Hoover raced today. Stanley said, “For the first half of the bike race, he did 100% exactly what we spoke about, and then the back end of the race, he was racing against World Tour guys who just came off of the Tour de France. So to be able to do what Gavin did there, that was the best race he's ever done. It's his fifth omnium ever, and he's eighth in the world. You can't really ask for much more than that right now.”

Stanley and Hoover both alluded to their goals of medaling in Paris 2024. Hoover said, “I think in a perfect world, I'd hope for a little bit more. But after the year and a half we've had, I'm really happy with that. I worked really hard the last year, just addressing all these things that I thought were weak points. I hoped I would have moved up a bit farther. But, for the next three years, for me, the priority is this event and trying to win in Paris.”

Hoover is a relative newcomer to the Omnium at the international level. Talking about his upward trajectory in the event, he said, “I did three World Cups almost two years ago now after winning Nationals and then did Worlds in Berlin, and now this. It feels like a bit of a stretch, but it feels like we're heading in the right direction, and I want to do a few more and see what we can do.”

Hoover also discussed the change in the format of the omnium over the last decade, and he said, “I think for sure this is the best omnium they've managed to come up with. It was three hours from start to finish of the session, and with the level of fitness I have right now, it suits me well to race one after the other, quick.”

Godby and her brother Zane at the start of the quarterfinals. Photo: Casey Gibson
Godby and her brother Zane at the start of the quarterfinals. Photo: Casey Gibson

Maddie Godby (Louisville, Colo.) started today as the first American woman ever to compete in the Keirin since its Olympic debut in 2012. Godby drew for sixth position beginning in the back of her heat in the quarterfinals. Godby needed to be in the top four to transfer to the next round and finished fifth, ending her run in the Keirin.

Godby said, “I am honored to be the first American woman to race an Olympic keirin. Keirin can be unpredictable, and sometimes the cards you play don’t work out, so the result is disappointing. However, I prepared to the best of my ability, and that’s all I can control. Hopefully, this helps lay the groundwork for a successful American sprint program heading into Paris 2024.”

Up Next

It’s back to the Izu Velodrome for more track racing. First, Godby will kick off the day with the Women’s Sprints. Then Jennifer Valente (San Diego; Twenty24) and Megan Jastrab (Apple Valley, Calif.; Team DSM) will team up for the Olympics first-ever Women’s Madison.

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