Britain rules the world with double pursuit gold
Team pursuit victories mean that GB win a medal in all five World Cup finals
the Manchester Velodrome
Friday 01 November 2013
We have been here before; it rained cats and dogs in Manchester and Britain ruled in the velodrome. Plus ça change… The women's team pursuit is a new event, but there is already an inevitability as to who will win it and Britain duly swept to victory at the World Cup as the quartet sliced huge chunks off the world record. By the time Laura Trott, Jo Rowsell, Dani King and Elinor Barker headed for their beds they had taken the best part of seven seconds off the morning's mark.
Britain dominated this event when it was raced by three women over three kilometres. Since this year's world championships it has been upped to four and four but that has done nothing to loosen Britain's grip. They crossed the line with the hapless Canadians in their sights and stopped the clock at 4min 19.604sec. The slowest men's team, China, finished in 4:19.557, and this is not a new event for the men.
"Because it is a new event we are finding our own limits at the moment," said Rowsell, who is only riding at "90 per cent" as she returns from injury. "I think to go sub-20 is probably ahead of where we expected to be. It's only going to get quicker."
The first gold of the evening went to Britain, Ed Clancy leading the team pursuit to victory over world champions and long-time adversaries Australia. Two solid rides by the British quartet, quickest in qualifying and then dropping that time again in the final, earned the victory but the Australian team included only Alex Edmondson from the team who had beaten Britain to world gold in Minsk at the start of the year.
This is the team in which Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins have hinted about making a track return, but with Owain Doull, the young Welshman, leading a crop of rising riders their well-decorated elders will face a stiff task to make the squad if they do decide to switch.
"The team tonight was a mixture of experience and youth," said Steven Burke, like Clancy a London 2012 winner in the event. "With six guys going for four spots coming into the world at the moment I couldn't name who will be in the team."
"Last winter everyone was picking themselves up after the Olympic hangover," said Clancy, who earned his second Olympic gold in London. The 28-year-old dallied with a switch of his own to the team sprint but is restored very much to what he does best. "Now this is the real start for Rio."
Becky James and Vicky Williamson took silver in the team sprint, beaten in the final by the Germans Kristina Vogel and Miriam Welte, the current world and Olympic champions.
In the men's team sprint Britain took bronze, while Katie Archibald, part of the team pursuit at last month's European championships, took silver in the scratch race, giving another example of her potential, and the depth of talent in British women's cycling at the moment. It also meant Britain took a medal from all five finals.
World Cup highlights
Women's individual pursuit Jo Rowsell looks to win a third World Cup title in this event.
Men's points race Owain Doull, 20, is tipped for a bright future.
Men's omnium 19-year-old Jon Dibben, another rising star, will take on Denmark's Olympic champion Lasse Norman Hansen.
Men's individual pursuit Steven Burke or Andy Tennant will ride for Britain.
Women's sprint Becky James and Jess Varnish face the mighty Australian Anna Meares.
Men's keirin World champion Jason Kenny is the man to beat here.
Women's omnium Laura Trott is the Olympic champion but slipped to a rare silver in the World Championships.
Women's points race Wales' Elinor Barker goes on her own.
Women's keirin Becky James will look to end a remarkable year in an event in which she has become the dominant rider.
Men's sprint Matt Crampton joins Jason Kenny in a high-class field that includes Germany's Maximilian Levy.
Men's scratch race Owain Doull, one of a number of promising Welsh riders, flies the GB flag.
As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”
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