Cycling trio add to glory in the velodrome
The three women break world record to triumph in the 3km race
Paul Bignell is an Assistant News Editor at The Independent. He has previously been the acting News Editor of the i Paper, a home news reporter for The Independent for one year and a reporter for the Independent on Sunday for six years.
Sunday 05 August 2012
Gold, gold and more gold. Team GB scored yet another victory in the velodrome yesterday when three British women won the team pursuit cycling event. To a roar of applause, Joanna Rowsell, Laura Trott and Dani King broke the world record for the 3km race, which, as it happens, was set by them, and which they'd already broken five times before. They completed the course in 3:14:051, ahead of a strong US team.
The reigning world champions' triumph was the latest addition to an astonishing record for British cycling at the London 2012 Olympics: four gold medals have been won in three days, and there are still five events to come.
"It's mad," said Trott after the race. "I can't believe it. It has been my dream since I was eight. We've gone and done it," she added.
Barely out of their teens – Trott is only 20, King is 21 and Rowsell now almost a veteran at 23 – the trio had broken the world record in their previous rides – at the Track World Cup in London in February, twice at the Track Cycling World Championships in Melbourne in April and during the qualifier yesterday.
Of the six consecutive world records, Trott said: "Pretty amazing, eh? I don't think we expected it."
The Canadian team took bronze after beating Australia.
While Team GB had been tipped for success, their rise was not always predictable. Rowsell, of Cheam, Surrey, has become a poster girl for alopecia after speaking about how the condition spurred her on to success on the track.
Speaking before yesterday's event, the former pupil of Nonsuch High School for Girls said she had applied herself to schoolwork after she began losing her hair at the age of 10. She added: "Working hard was the only thing that stopped me from worrying about the future.
"Then cycling came along and I applied the same work ethic. I worked through any worries I had about my hair and I focused solely on that. It made me who I am."
King, from Southampton, feared her career as an elite cyclist could be over in 2009 after suffering from glandular fever and tonsillitis. The 21-year-old wrote on Twitter: "So proud to be part of this team!"
A relative newcomer to cycling, she skipped a maths lesson to try out for the British Cycling Talent Team. Speaking about her selection for Team GB, King, who studied at Barton Peveril Sixth Form College, said: "I have come from nowhere."
Trott, from Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, was cheered on by her sister, Emma, also a cyclist. The sisters were introduced to the sport by their mother, who could not have known her fitness drive would result in Olympic success for her daughter.
The win follows velodrome golds in the women's keirin, men's team pursuit and men's team sprint.
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