This post contains affiliate links. Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases from Amazon.com and other Amazon websites.
While cycling is a beloved hobby for many across the globe, competitive cycling still doesn’t get the recognition it truly deserves. The Tour De France rose to prominence in the early 2000s courtesy of the later-disgraced Lance Armstong. But the Olympic Games have forever been the pinnacle for many a professional cyclist.
Throughout the last 20 years, there have been five Olympic games. Tokyo last hosted the games back in 2020, while Rio De Janeiro in Brazil hosted them in 2016. Back in 2012, it was London who had the chance to host, marking the first time since 1948 that the United Kingdom had hosted the famed event. In 2008, it was Beijing and the stunning Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium which had the world’s attention, and four years prior to that, the Games returned to Athens, the site of the first-ever modern Olympiad.
The Olympics will return next summer, with Paris hosting exactly a century from the last time they hosted. Online bookie Bovada doesn’t yet have odds on cycling at the 2024 Olympics, however, the website does have a wealth of other cycling events available for you to browse through.
The last five Olympic Games have seen some of the most exciting and successful performances in cycling. It is no surprise that nations using the best cycling nutrition products as well as having a strong cycling tradition and infrastructure have shone the brightest on the Olympic stage. Here we take a look at the countries that have performed the best in the last five Olympics and the riders that have made those successes possible.
In recent years, there has been one nation that has stood head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to cycling medals won at the Olympic Games, and that is Great Britain. At the last five Games, Britain has racked up an astonishing 54 medals, 30 of which have been golden. Their exploits across the last two decades have seen them overthrow France, who have been the leaders in the overall cycling medal table for decades.
At London 2012, the team won 12 medals in total, eight of which were gold, while at Rio 2016 they also racked up 12 medals overall, however, this time only six were golden. The British team has been led by the likes of Sir Bradley Wiggins, who won gold in the men’s individual time trial at the London Olympics, and Sir Chris Hoy, who are two of the most decorated athletes in the history of both Great Britain and the Olympics as a whole.
For many years, France had been the most successful nation in cycling at the Olympics, but they have since fallen off somewhat, allowing Great Britain to overtake and overthrow them at the overall medal tables summit. They have still picked up some medals over the last two decades, however.
At the London 2012 Olympics, the French team won a total of four medals, picking up one gold and three silvers. France also performed well at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where they won two gold medals, three silver, and one bronze. One of Les Bleus’ most recognisable cyclists is sprinter and track cyclist, Bryan Coquard, who picked up a silver medal back in 2012.
Germany is another nation that has performed well in cycling at the Olympics. The team has won a total of 19 medals in the last five Olympic Games, with their most successful performances coming at London 2012 and Athens 2004.
Back in 2012, they finished second overall in the cycling medal table, only behind hosts Great Britain. That year, they finished with a total of six medals, only one of which was gold, however. They picked up the same amount in Greece in 2004, also managing just one gold, however, the four silvers won in London compared to just the one in Athens means that 2012 saw the Germans’ most impressive haul throughout the last 20 years.
The Aussies have also had an impressive run at the Olympics in the last five Games, winning 23 medals in total. Prior to the Great British dynasty rising to the fore in 2008, the Australians were the best cyclists in the world. Back at Athens 2004, they smashed the rest of the competition, racking up a whopping six gold medals and 11 medals in total, over twice that of their nearest rivals Russia and Great Britain.
In recent years, they have been surpassed by the British, however, they have still managed to achieve some success. The team won one gold and two silvers at London 2012 as well as one gold and two bronzes at Tokyo 2020.
Australia’s success has been largely down to the efforts of track cyclist Anna Meares, who was the Australian flag bearer and team captain at Rio 2016. That year, she picked up a bronze medal in the keirin, making her the first Australian to win medals at four consecutive Olympic Games.