Cycling: Great Britain set new world record in men's team pursuit

 

Great Britain edged a titanic tussle with Australia to take team pursuit gold in a world record time on the opening day of the Track Cycling World Championships at the Hisense Arena in Melbourne.

In the four-man, four-kilometre event Ed Clancy, Pete Kennaugh, Geraint Thomas and Steven Burke - in for Andy Tennant, who was part of the qualifying effort - clocked three minutes 53.295 seconds as Britain claimed a first world title in the event since Manchester in 2008.

Australia's Glenn O'Shea, Jack Bobridge, Rohan Dennis and Michael Hepburn were second in 3mins 53.401secs, just outside the previous world record - 3mins 53.314secs set by Britain in winning Olympic gold in Beijing almost four years ago.

Britain, with Andy Tennant riding before being replaced by Burke, set the then third-fastest time in history in qualifying this afternoon and Australia recorded the fifth best to set up the eagerly-anticipated showdown.

The duel in the final only served to whet the appetite for August's Games track programme four months hence as the lead appeared to changed hands each half lap before Britain powered away in the closing stages to triumph.

The world champions in 2004 and 2008 went on to win the Olympics and today's win is a good omen for a young squad.

In the bronze medal ride-off, New Zealand clocked 3:57.592 to finish ahead of Russia (3:59.237).

"I didn't think we'd ride that time," said Thomas, who was part of the Olympic-winning team in 2008.

"I am surprised that we broke the world record.

"It was only in the last few days that we thought 'we're going to get close to this'.

"It's a great day."

In the men's team sprint, Britain selected unknown quantity Philip Hindes as specialist starter.

The 19-year-old, born in Germany to a British father, led out Olympic champions Jason Kenny and Sir Chris Hoy to a time of 43.533.

It was good enough to advance to the bronze medal ride-off, where Britain were set to meet Australia (43.512).

France (43.247) were poised to meet defending world champions Germany (43.349) in the race for gold.

Jess Varnish and Victoria Pendleton finished without a medal in the two-woman, two-lap team sprint as the world record tumbled.

Varnish and Pendleton's world record from February's Track World Cup in London was bettered by Germany in qualifying and Kristina Vogel and Miriam Welte went faster still to win the final in a new best of 32.549, with Australia's Anna Meares and Kaarle McCulloch taking silver in 32.597.

China's Gong Jinjie and Guo Shuang of China (32.870) won the battle for bronze, with Varnish and Pendleton (33.160) having to settle for fourth.

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