Cycling: Australians ahead again in gold rush

Men's pursuit victory gives Britain's great rivals fifth title of world championships

Britain's track cyclists insist that the 2012 Olympic Games are their overriding target but their greatest rivals proved again last night that the hosts will not have everything their own way in London. Australia have been the dominant country at this week's world championships in Copenhagen and enjoyed one of their finest victories when their men's pursuit team held off Britain to take their fifth gold medal of the week.

Steven Burke, Ed Clancy, Ben Swift and Andrew Tennant qualified more than a second quicker than the Australians but the Britons trailed throughout the evening race for gold. Jack Bobridge, Rohan Dennis, Michael Hepburn and Cameron Meyer were determined to seize the initiative at the start and led at every time check over the four kilometres.

The Britons reduced the gap to one tenth of a second during the final kilometre, but the Australians held on to win in 3min 55.654sec, 0.152sec ahead of their opponents. The winning time was less than two and a half seconds slower than the world record, which Britain set in winning the Olympic gold medal two years ago.

Clancy was the only rider left from the winning team in Beijing and one consolation for Britain is that they fielded a young and largely inexperienced quartet. Bradley Wiggins and Geraint Thomas, who are concentrating for the moment on their road careers, are likely to return to the squad for London, while 39-year-old Jason Queally, who did not make the final line-up in Copenhagen, is also in contention for a place.

The Australians, however, also fielded a young team – their oldest rider was just 22 – and their seventh victory in this event in the modern era will fill them with confidence.

Clancy tried to put a brave face on the result. "As a team we're used to winning,' he said. "We're GB and people expect us to win. Anything other than a win always seems a bit of a disappointment. We knew the Aussies are coming strong at the moment. They've got a good bunch of young lads and I guess they just did us on the day."

Britain's only gold medal so far was won by Sir Chris Hoy in the keirin and the Scot today begins his attempt to win a second in the individual sprint competition.

Victoria Pendleton began the defence of her world sprint title yesterday and recovered from a moderate start to earn a place in today's semi-finals, in which she will face Australia's Anna Meares, who has been one of the riders of the week.

Pendleton's pure speed usually tells in qualifying but on this occasion she could finish only seventh. Nevertheless the Olympic champion went on to beat her fellow Briton, Jessica Varnish, France's Clara Sanchez and Russia's Victoria Baranova. The third Briton, Rebecca James, went out in the round of 16.

Teun Mulder, of the Netherlands, won the one kilometre time trial, in which Britain's David Daniell finished a disappointing seventh.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Health & Safety Consultant

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic and exciting opport...

Recruitment Genius: Project and Quality Manager

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is an independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Sales Executive - OTE £20,625

£14625 - £20625 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This role is for an enthusiasti...

Guru Careers: Financial Controller

£45 - £55k DOE: Guru Careers: A Financial Controller is required to join a suc...

Day In a Page

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'