Sir Bradley Wiggins’ hopes of leading Britain to team pursuit gold at the world track championships were foiled by old rivals Australia in a thrilling final yesterday.
It looked as though Wiggins, 35, and team-mates Jonathan Dibben, Ed Clancy and Owain Doull would raise the roof in the Olympic velodrome when they closed an early gap but Australia struck back to claim the title.
Victory for Sam Welsford, Michael Hepburn, Callum Scotson and Miles Scotson was Australia’s sixth world title in the event in the past 11 editions of the championships.
Earlier, a perfectly-timed sprint gave Laura Trott victory in the women’s 10km scratch race as Britain belatedly got on the medal table.
Trott, part of Britain’s dominant team at the 2012 Olympics when she won gold in the omnium and team pursuit, burst to the front on the 40th and final lap at the London velodrome.
Kirsten Wild of the Netherlands was second with Canada’s Stephanie Roorda third.
“With two laps to go I thought I had better go now. “I’m so happy. I wasn’t feeling that good but it just worked out perfectly,” Trott said.
Becky James claimed bronze in the women’s Keirin behind Germany’s Kristina Vogel, who took gold, and Anna Meares of Australia.
James has had two years disrupted by a knee injury and illness since winning the Keirin and individual sprint at the 2013 World Championships in Minsk. The result represented a major boost for her Rio Olympic hopes.
There was less joy for Trott in the women’s team pursuit as Great Britain produced a ragged qualification ride which means the best they can achieve is bronze.
Trott, Joanna Rowsell Shand, Ciara Horne and Elinor Barker clocked 4min 21.034sec to finish fifth. Britain will meet China in their first-round heat today. The quickest two of the third-to eighth-placed teams will advance to the ride-off for bronze.
British Cycling’s head coach Iain Dyer said: “It’s a disappointing performance. There’s no way of dressing that any differently.”
Hosts Britain suffered a disappointing opening day on Wednesday when they failed to medal in either the men’s or women’s team sprints.
Joachim Eilers won the men’s 1km time trial, beating Dutch veteran Theo Bos and Frenchman Quentin Lafargue.
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