Commonwealth Games 2014: Sir Bradley Wiggins guides England into team pursuit final against Australia
Old rivals will meet later tonight after Wiggins, Ed Clancy, Andy Tennant and Steven Burke qualified second to set-up gold medal showdown
Thursday 24 July 2014
Sir Bradley Wiggins will race for gold on his track cycling return this evening, with England facing off against favourites Australia in the team pursuit final at the Commonwealth Games.
Wiggins joined Ed Clancy, Andy Tennant and Steven Burke to qualify second fastest at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, turning in a comfortable time of three minutes 59.249 seconds.
That was enough to send New Zealand and Canada into a battle for bronze, but Australian quartet Jack Bobridge, Luke Davison, Alex Edmondson and Glenn O'Shea flexed their muscles by bettering England's mark by almost two seconds as they clocked 3mins 57.939secs.
Australia went last, meaning they knew the mark they needed to beat, but whether or not Wiggins and his pursuit colleagues manage to overhaul their rivals in the head-to-head they have already secured a a guaranteed silver medal.
The same cannot be said of the men's sprint, where a sensational qualifying effort from the Australasian contingent left the home nations playing catch-up.
Australia's Matthew Glaetzer set a new Commonwealth Games men's sprint record as the mark was lowered five times in qualifying.
Glaetzer, 21, topped the timesheets with 9.779secs, while compatriot Peter Lewis and New Zealand trio Ed Dawkins, Sam Webster and Matthew Archibald all bettered Shane Perkins' previous mark of 10.058secs, set in Delhi four years ago.
The quintet made it a tough session for the rest of the field, who were led by England's Olympic team sprint champion Philip Hindes in sixth place.
Triple Olympic champion Jason Kenny was pushed into 11th place in 10.206s.
With only 12 of the 28 riders automatically qualfiying, it was a close-run thing for Kenny, who will be joined in the next stage by Wales' Lewis Oliva, Scotland's Callum Skinner (10th) and team-mate Matt Crampton, who edged the final qualifying spot by 0.044s.
Scottish pair John Paul and Chris Pritchard ranked 14th and 18th respectively.
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