Cycling: GB will close pursuit gap come August, says Thomas


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The Independent Online

Geraint Thomas says that Great Britain's team pursuit squad have plenty of margin for improvement ahead of the London Olympics.

Qualifying in the four-man, four-kilometre event opens the Track Cycling World Championships in Melbourne today. Australia won in February's Track World Cup in London.

"It wasn't a shock," Thomas said. "It's time to worry a bit when you don't know why you're not firing on all cylinders. We know why and it's always been part of the plan. August 2 and 3 is when we want to be firing on all cylinders and at our best.

"We still wanted to win in London and do our best. It wasn't enough to win but we took a lot from it and I think we're moving in the right direction pretty rapidly, which is good."

At the Beijing Olympics, Thomas combined with Ed Clancy, Bradley Wiggins and Paul Manning to take gold in 3min 53.314sec, a world record which still stands. Thomas, Clancy, Steven Burke and Peter Kennaugh combined in February. Burke is set to be replaced by Andy Tennant, with Ben Swift riding the non-Games scratch race.

The team pursuit is the first final of the evening, with Victoria Pendleton and Jess Varnish hoping to feature in the second, the two-woman, two-lap team sprint. The men go over three laps with three riders, with the Olympic champions Jason Kenny and Sir Chris Hoy named alongside 19-year-old Philip Hindes, a specialist starter, whose performance could help Hoy win an 11th world title.