The first day of the UCI Juniors Track World Championships in Glasgow saw Great Britain’s junior men’s team pursuit in action at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.
The line-up of Ollie Wood, Jake Ragan, Tao Geoghegan Hart and Germain Burton were off in the fourth heat of the qualification round in which they posted a time of 4:13.824, placing them top of the leader board but with fifteen teams still to qualify.
Although initially disappointed with the time, the conditions on the track meant that the rest of the teams also qualified in times slower than coach Matt Winston expected and towards the end of the qualifying, things started to look up for the GB youngsters as they continued to hold the fastest time with three teams still left to race, assuring them of a ride for a medal later in the evening.
It was Australia who set the fastest time with 4:09.364 with New Zealand qualifying second fastest in 4:12.056. GB ultimately qualified fourth, facing the third fastest team Russia (4:13.065) for the race for bronze in the evening session.
Matt Winston kept the same riders from qualifying for the finals but changed the order slightly for the bronze medal ride off, with Germain Burton riding in man three and Tao Geoghegan Hart in man four. The foursome put up a hard fight but began to split up in the final few laps and ultimately lost to the Russian team who took the bronze medal in a time of 4:09.116.
In the battle for gold, Australia came out victorious with an impressive time of 4:06.182 which was six seconds clear of New Zealand who took the silver medal.
Speaking after the race, Tao Geoghegan Hart reflected: “It was just about trying to do our best and stick to our game plan.
“It was disappointing because I think we all would have been happy with a medal, certainly, but we didn’t quite do the time we wanted to - regardless of conditions and what the track was riding like - and we didn’t quite get to where we wanted to be and do what we’ve shown we can do in training but often that’s the way I think.”
As the most experienced rider in the developing team, Hart took a mature outlook on the day’s racing: “It’s about getting the experience and pushing on and learning. It’s a long week, so we can put the things we’ve learnt today into practise if not this week then at some point in the future either on the road or track.
“It’s disappointing as we had one eye on the step of the podium, especially here at such an amazing venue, but that’s just the way it is.”
Despite the team’s obvious disappointment, Matt Winston was pleased with the way they rode and took positives from their results: “This morning wasn’t a bad ride, it was good in terms of the way we approached it and the way we delivered it and you can tell from the times of the other nations where we were at.
“We changed the order a little bit for the evening ride, and the lads gave it everything they had, they couldn’t have gone any quicker and at the end of the day it wasn’t quite good enough, but we’ll come back and we’ll fight another day.
“They’ve learnt quite a lot today, and it’s not always about winning a medal – it’s about what we do on the track, how we look at it and what we do going forward and that’s what counts. The guys are ultimately disappointed, but we’ve done a good job here today.”