Women’s team pursuit team consummate four years of dominance at the Games
Event: London Olympics women's team pursuit
When: 4 August 2012
Where: London Olympic Velodrome
How it unfolded
Great Britain team pursuiters Joanna Rowsell, Laura Trott and Dani King stole the show on Saturday 4 August at the Olympic Velodrome, when they won gold against the USA in emphatic style, beating their own world record twice, set in qualifying just 24 hours earlier.
Since its introduction to the programme back in 2008, the event first took place in Manchester at the 2008 UCI Track World Championships and the Great Britain Team has dominated it ever since.
It was in 2011 when the team saw Dani King and Laura Trott compete side by side for the very first time. This was the start of a great line-up coming together and only 12 months later, at the 2012 World Championships in Melbourne.
They had, alongside soon to be fellow Olympic Champion, Joanna Rowsell, collectively knocked almost eight seconds of their final time. At the speeds travelled, is a difference of around half a lap in just twelve months.
At the Games, Great Britain’s performance in the first round was full bore, beating rivals Canada to earn a place in the final, knocking a second off their own world record. They faced the USA in the final, who had overpowered Australia in the first round.
Great Britain emerged onto the track to a wall of noise from the capacity crowd and from the moment the starting gate opened, they made their intent clear. The team of Rowsell, Trott and King were up 0.6 of a second in the first lap prompting a desperate response from USA.
The Americans hung on for 1km before collapsing dramatically as Great Britain piled on the pressure. By 2000 metres Great Britain were over two seconds up and victory was assured, homing in on the USA in the final 500m and setting yet another new world record of 3:14.051, over five seconds ahead of the USA trio.
What they said
Joanna Rowsell: "Other nations have really raised their game so it's great that we are leading the way. You never want to be complacent but we had had a great day and I felt we had more to give coming into the final race. The atmosphere was tremendous and the crowd helped drive us on."
Laura Trott said, “It's mad, I can't believe it it's been my dream since I was eight, we've gone and done it. I don't think we expected it.”
Dani King added, “We're like sisters, I couldn’t have done it without them, they were absolutely incredible and I can't believe we've done it!"
Coach Paul Manning: “I don’t think we expected it – I think here maybe we expected it in one of the rounds but in every single ride that we did... we just can’t believe it really.”
Why should this be the British Cycling's Ride of the Year 2012?
In the four years since the introduction of the women’s team pursuit. The Great Britain team had made it their own. They only lost out on the world title once in the four years, in Ballerup, Denmark in 2010.
As with any new event, it is always difficult to judge the form of other nations and the strength of their performance programme in that regard. They constantly fought off the advances of the Australian trio on a number of occasions and despite a strong American squad at the Games, who disposed of the Australian team with relative ease in the first round at the games, they pulled out yet another stellar performance and rewrote the record books once again in front of a home crowd.
This not only affirmed them as one of the greatest sporting teams of our time but also went a long way to drawing yet more attention to, as well as having a positive impact on cycling in this country.