Silver medals for the Women's Team Pursuit and Men's Team Sprint on Day Two of track cycling in Tokyo

Silver medals for the Women's Team Pursuit and Men's Team Sprint on Day Two of track cycling in Tokyo


The women’s team pursuit squad and the men’s sprint team got Great Britain’s Olympic track cycling medal chase underway on a dramatic day two at the Izu Velodrome in Tokyo.

The two teams each collected silver medals on an eventful night packed with world and Olympic records.

It took the Great Britain Cycling Team’s haul of medals at the Tokyo Games to seven although there was disappointment in the men’s team pursuit when the GB team was involved in a disastrous crash in their first round ride.

The women’s team pursuit squad, of Katie Archibald, Laura Kenny, Neah Evans and Josie Knight rode superbly and broke the world record when they beat the USA in their first round heat earlier in the day, with a time of 4:06.748.

Germany, however, regained the world record they had set on Monday in the very next heat of the 4,000m, 16-lap race, setting up an exciting gold medal final ride against the British.

GB rode a strong first lap but the Germans quickly overtook them and eventually won gold, obliterating their own world record in the process, with a time of 4:04.249. The USA beat Canada for bronze.

"It's really special to be here,” said Evans. “We're defending champions, there's big expectation for British cycling because we do have such a strong reputation, but there are so many strong nations that came out fighting. It wasn't to be this time, but we'll be back in Paris."

Her team-mate Kenny added: "Germany took everyone by surprise. We knew they were going to go fast, just not that fast.”

In the men’s sprint competition, the GB team of Ryan Owens, Jack Carlin and Jason Kenny rode superbly in their qualifying and first rounds, on the foundation of blistering opening laps from Owens.

In their first round race against Germany, the British won in setting a new Olympic record of 41.829 which the Netherlands broke in the very next heat, with 41.431 to set up the gold final between the two stand-out teams.

In the Final, GB made their customary fast start but struggled to keep their next two riders together as the Dutch raced away to win, in a new Olympic record time of 41.369.

The consolation for Kenny’s silver medal was that he joined Sir Bradley Wiggins with eight Olympic career medals - the most ever by a Great Britain athlete.

Men's Team Sprint Silver

"It was really good,” said Kenny. “We poured our heart in the second ride to get into the final and then rolled the dice. 

"We knew we had ground to make up and I just had nothing in the final. I was rubbish but we tried so hard to get there. It's really special. Every time you come back it gets harder.”

The men’s team pursuit competition started with veteran star Ed Clancy pulling out of the racing, due to the recurrence of an injury, and announcing his retirement from the Olympic squad in the process.

Travelling reserve Charlie Tanfield stepped in to replace him and joined Ethan Hayter, Ethan Vernon and Ollie Wood in a GB line-up that faced Denmark in the final heat of the first round.

Italy set a new world record in the previous heat, riding 3:42.307, but that was nothing compared to the drama to come when Great Britain rode against Denmark.

Late in the race, with the Danes poised to catch GB’s third rider, Tanfield, their first man Frederik Madsen crashed into him, leaving the commissaires to determine who would advance to the gold medal ride on Wednesday.

After lengthy deliberation, it was judged that Denmark had caught the British and were allowed to advance to meet Italy in the gold medal Final.