Great Britain’s men team pursuit quartet claimed gold with a stunning world record ride before describing the gruelling journey they had been on to triumph in front of an elated Olympic velodrome.
The quartet smashed their own world record with a time of 3:51.659 to secure gold and successfully defend the title Great Britain won in Beijing four years ago. The winning margin was nearly three seconds faster than silver medallists Australia and compounded the dominance they had shown by going quickest in both qualifying and round one of the competition.
Geraint Thomas, who along with Ed Clancy was a survivor of the team which triumphed in Beijing, admitted it had been a long road since the 2011 European Track Championships last October and paid tribute to his fellow teammates.
"In November we were in the track at 7.30 in the morning, they stopped us going to a Rihanna concert in November,” 26-year-old Thomas said. “They have been on our backs since then. It has been full on. To finish it off it is amazing. I was ill last week and it was tough mentally to get back to where I was but without these boys I couldn't have done it. They were super. The crowd is unbelievable. My ears are ringing. It's too loud.
"It’s unbelievable, I sacrificed a lot on the road this year. The unity of the team, I would miss the Tour any day to feel like that again, the crowd were just immense.”
Ed Clancy, who propelled the team off with a rapid opening lap, described the emotion of four years of work coming to fruition.
“I can’t explain it, we had good vibes in the Newport training camp three of four weeks ago and we were talking about time we thought we could do and then G got a bit of food poisoning and we took a step backwards. We just spent so many years thinking about this moment and when it happened it was just a mad explosion of emotion.”
Peter Kennaugh, who was picking up his first gold medal in his first Olympic Games, added: “It is amazing. It is a team event but we have to take our hats off to Ed Clancy and Steven Burke, they rode amazing.”