Published: 21 February 2013
Report: Scott Hobro at the Minsk Arena, Belarus
Images: Luke Webber
Great Britain stormed to women’s team pursuit gold to win a first title at this year’s track world championships.
Elinor Barker joined Olympic champions Laura Trott and Dani King as the trio proved too strong for Australia as they successfully defended the title won in Melbourne last year.
A time of 3.18.140 handed 18-year-old Barker a debut senior world title and was over a second faster than their opponents. They had earlier qualified quickest in 3:18.704 in what was the last appearance of the three-woman pursuit format at a major meeting.
Becky James was the other Great Britain medallist of the evening, setting a new personal best to claim her second bronze of the championship in the 500m time-trial.
Elsewhere, Jason Kenny, Philip Hindes and Kian Emadi missed out on the chance of a team sprint medal, qualifying sixth in 44.270.
Steven Burke couldn’t add to a team pursuit silver from Wednesday night, finishing 17th in the individual pursuit whilst 19-year-old Owain Doull ended the scratch race in fifth in an encouraging first world championship appearance.
After winning gold, Trott said: “We didn’t know what sort of time we were going to do, we put a 3:20 on the board in training, the track seems to be running fast. We were so happy to qualify in 3:18 and it’s just a race from then on.
“No way [is there an Olympic hangover]. Who wouldn’t want to win another stripey jumper?"
British Cycling Academy rider Barker commented: “It was scary [being the youngest] to be honest but I couldn’t ask for better teammates, they are the best in the world, who better to learn from?”
King added: “We worked really hard and we always come together as a team, we ride as one rather than three individuals and we’ve got so much trust in each other. Every time we get off the line we just know each of us is going to give 100%.”
With the women’s team pursuit event set to switch to a four-person format to replicate the men’s version next season, Great Britain had the opportunity to end as world and Olympic champions having only been denied the title once, back in 2010 in Denmark.
World junior time-trial champion Barker, who won gold with King and Trott at last year’s Glasgow Track World Cup, joined the duo in the absence of Joanna Rowsell who is focusing on the road.
Despite being down by nearly a third of second after the opening kilometre, Great Britain reduced the arrears and at the two-kilometre mark held a .841 second advantage, impervious to the efforts of Annette Edmondson, Ashlee Ankudinoff and Melissa Hoskins of Australia en route to gold.
Earlier Wales’ James had added to her world championship medal collection. Going out first, her time of 34.133 was more than half a second quicker than her previous record and proved supreme until China’s Wai Sze Lee and Germany’s Miriam Welte deposed her.
James, 21, said: "I knocked off six tenths of a second, so I'm really happy with that.
"I was really focused before it. I just wanted to get everything out on the track. You can only ever focus on your performance, not anyone else's.
"I'm pretty shocked. I've come in with good form, but 500's always been a hard event and I didn't expect to come away with a medal. It was a bit of an agonising wait towards the end, when everyone was going a bit slower.
"To come away with a medal, I'm so happy".
A new look men’s team sprint line-up were unable to add to the medal haul. With Sir Chris Hoy taking a break from competitive cycling, Olympic champions in the discipline Philip Hindes and Jason Kenny went alongside 21-year-old Kian Emadi, but their time was not enough for a medal ride.
“It’s always a little disappointing if you don’t make the finals either for gold or for bronze, it was unfortunate that Kian couldn’t get on there,” coach Jan van Eijden said.
“But with Philip he only finds his form in competition so it’s hard in training to simulate that hard start and because Philip did so well Jason had to go after him and that stretched Kian.
"Kian may also be a little tired from yesterday after the kilo because that was a good one from Kian. It’s a few factors coming together that unfortunately didn’t work out.”