The bike that shook the racing world was on its way home, guarded by Lotus technicians, when the Olympic champion and team-mates Paul Jennings, Bryan Steel and Glen Sword were fifth fastest in the time trial to find the eight quarter-finalists.
'When I first got on the conventional bike, it was a bit of a shock to the system,' Boardman said. 'I was still a little stuffed from the final and I just could not raise the pace.'
Their time, 4min 19.126sec, trimmed their best 4,000m achieved on this track in the pre- Olympics meeting last September when they were second to Denmark. They improved that in the quarter-finals to 4:14.350, but to no avail. Again they faced the Danes and again were second best. Doug Dailey, the British team manager, said: 'We were expecting a little better than that.'
Italy, Germany and Australia joined Denmark in the semi- finals, with the Australian quartet of Stephen McGlede, Stuart O'Grady, Brett Aitken and Shaun O'Brien undoubtably favourites for the gold. They set the world's fastest time of 4:11.245 in the preliminary round, and then beat it in their quarter-final when they caught Czechoslovakia and clocked 4:10.438.Reuse content