Team GB win gold medal in women's team pursuit with world record time


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The Independent Online

Joanna Rowsell, Dani King and Laura Trott claimed Olympic gold with an astonishing team pursuit performance on another spine-tingling night at the London 2012 velodrome.

The trio, all aged 23 or under, were presented with their medals after a sixth consecutive gold medal in the three-woman, three-kilometre event before a spontaneous rendition of Hey Jude led by the onlooking Paul McCartney.

The 20-year-old Trott, who is now set to ride for individual gold in the omnium, beginning on Monday, said: "It's unbelievable. We didn't expect a Beatle to be here. It's not often you can say you've waved at and blown a kiss at a Beatle.

"I feel pretty ecstatic now but I've got a rest day tomorrow then a day to get my head on and concentrate again.

"For now I'm just going to lap this up then hopefully come back and do the exact same thing."

The victory was a fourth gold from five events for the hosts in the velodrome after victories in the men's team sprint and team pursuit and Victoria Pendleton's keirin triumph, with only Jess Varnish and Pendleton missing out in the team sprint.

Of all the victories by the hosts, the one by Rowsell, King and Trott was the most convincing.

The trio had set world records in their previous five rides - at February's Track World Cup in London, twice at April's Track Cycling World Championships in Melbourne, in qualifying yesterday and this afternoon in the semi-final - before another blistering final ride, finishing in three minutes 14.051 seconds.

The performance came little more than an hour after the semi-final and saw silver medallists Sarah Hammer, Dotsie Bausch and Lauren Tamayo of the United States, who finished in 3mins 19.727secs, comprehensively beaten.

Canada's Tara Whitten, Gillian Carleton and Jasmin Glaesser took bronze in 3:17.915, ahead of Annette Edmondson, Melissa Hoskins and Josephine Tomic of Australia (3:18.096).

King, who sang along to the national anthem on the top step of the podium, said: "Words can't describe how I feel right now. I'm just so happy for us all. We came together tonight.

"We're such an amazing team, we couldn't have done it without each other. I'm just ecstatic.

"I don't think this smile is going to come off my face for a long time."

The performance by the World Championship-winning trio, who paid tribute to coach Paul Manning, was so superior to their rivals that the USA were in their sights inside the final kilometre.

"We've worked so hard on backing up our rides and doing two rides so close together," Rowsell said.

"We always thought we'd be confident enough to do our own ride but we were surprised to see them in the last few laps. That's always a bonus but we were never complacent."

The trio did not change, so Wendy Houvenaghel, silver medallist in the individual pursuit in Beijing behind team-mate Rebecca Romero, was left in reserve and the 37-year-old three-time world champion in the event was so upset she was seen leaving track centre prior to the race.

"She's a really important member of our team," said Rowsell, who won the first world title in the event in Manchester in March 2008 and now has won the first Olympic title in the event.

"She's been with us on the whole journey and she was part of this team from when it was first in the World Championships in 2008, right from day one with me and Rebecca Romero.

"She's an integral part and she's been with us here all week.

"She's been a great support so a big thank you to Wendy."