Great Britain got off to a near faultless start in the European Track Championships yesterday, making the podium in all four scheduled events and seeing the men and women win gold in the team pursuit.
With the first Olympic 2012 qualifying points on offer in the three-day Championships, Britain were keen to hit the ground running – and simultaneously score points of a psychological nature against their rivals.
Perhaps the most surprising element of the team pursuiters was the presence of Jason Queally, 40, an Olympic gold medallist in the kilometre event back in 2000 and now building a reputation over 40 laps.
Racing with team-mates up to 18 years his junior, Queally more than held his own both in the qualifying rounds – in which Britain clocked the best time – and in a ferocious, ultimately successful tussle with the Russians for gold.
"To be honest I had no idea [the final race] was so close," Queally said afterwards, "the other guys were able to see better what was going on but I was just concentrating on doing as well as possible.
"This is new ground for me, but there's plenty of time from here to London to put that straight."
Capably captained by Olympic silver medallist Wendy Houvenaghel, the women's team pursuit trio then cruised to a far more straightforward gold against Lithuania.
Sir Chris Hoy, Jason Kenny and Matt Crampton saw off Poland for a bronze medal in the men's team sprint while Jess Varnish and Olympic gold medallist Victoria Pendleton secured silver in the women's team sprint and – equally significantly – come within a few thousandths of their personal best times as a sprint duo.Reuse content