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Double gold for Great Britain at the London UCI Track Cycling World Cup

Double gold for Great Britain at the London UCI Track Cycling World Cup

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Great Britain opened the home round of the 2014/15 UCI Track Cycling World Cup in London in emphatic fashion with gold in the men’s and women’s team pursuit.

Britain’s men’s team pursuit squad recorded their first world cup victory in over a year, while the women continued an unbeaten run that began in 2010.

Ed Clancy, Steven Burke, Owain Doull and Andy Tennant qualified second, setting up a first-round draw against Denmark, the two separated by just half a second in qualifying.

A tight contest ensued with both teams losing a man in the final stages, Great Britain just edging the draw to book a place in the gold final.

Mark Christian replaced Ed Clancy for the final and New Zealand started hot, taking the fight to Great Britain.

But their lead was short-lived, with the British foursome ahead after the first kilometre. The lead wavered for the next kilometre before New Zealand shed a man and cracked, losing over a second in the space of a few laps.

Christian was shelled with a kilometre to go but Burke, Doull and Tennant brought it home in 4:01.151 to chalk up their first world cup win since the first round of the 2013/14 world cup in Manchester.

Following the win Steven Burke said: "It was a first for us, three rides in a day and I have to say it was really hard.

"We had a bit of a practice doing it last week in training. We needed to try and get used to that sort of day and learn from it may bring.

"It was a tough day out and I'm just glad we came out with a win really."

It was a similar story in the women’s event. Katie Archibald, Laura Trott, Elinor Barker and Joanna Rowsell qualified fastest by a few hundredths of a second ahead of Australia to set up a first-round match with USA.

Separated by nine seconds in qualifying, the match was a foregone conclusion, Great Britain, with Horne replacing Trott, catching the Americans at just over half distance and sitting behind them to cruise into the final, USA eventually disqualified for failing to follow commissaire instructions.

The match between Australia and New Zealand saw no surprises either, with Australia comfortably taking the win by two seconds.

Laura Trott returned for the final alongside Archibald, Barker and Horne but after the first kilometre, Australia were ahead by half a second. However the tables soon turned as Great Britain ramped up the pace.

Into the third kilometre and Great Britain were ahead and the Australian challenge faded away. Archibald put in a huge turn, unhitching Horne from the train but it didn’t matter, the British trio clocking 4:22.194 to continue an unbeaten run that began in 2010.

LauraTrott, who has never lost a team pursuit for Britain, said: "It's getting harder. You definitely feel the pressure now.

"We want to win every race but people are getting better and better. It's good for the sport.

"It's that battle to get into the squad that keeps us going."

"It's a huge honour,” said newcomer Ciara Horne when asked what it’s like to join such as successful unit. “You get goose-bumps on the start line. It's incredible especially with the atmosphere here and the crowd.”

It was disappointment for Great Britain in the men’s team sprint, with Philip Hindes, Jason Kenny and Callum Skinner finishing seventh.

Hindes opened Great Britain’s qualifying effort with a 17.588 first lap, fourth fastest and two-tenths off the pace of then leaders Team Jayco AIS of Australia.

After Kenny’s lap Great Britain were up to third place but it was clear that man three Callum Skinner hadn’t shaken the illness that afflicted him after Mexico, Great Britain slumping to seventh and out of the competition at the qualifying stage.

Germany’s Joachim Eilers, Rene Ender and Robert Forstemann went on to take gold ahead of Team Jayco AIS with New Zealand bronze.

Great Britain’s team sprint women fared better, Jess Varnish and Victoria Williamson just missing out on a medal ride in fifth.

Unusually, Williamson rode as man one in their heat, posting 33.622 seconds for the 500-metre effort, putting them into third with just one heat remaining. But the last heat saw China and Team Jayco AIS both go faster, pushing Varnish and Williamson out of medal contention.

Gold went to China in a tight final with Germany, while Russia took bronze.

Speaking after the event Varnish was positive about their performance, in light of the experimental setup and her recent illness.

“I wouldn't say that I expected to get in the top four,” said Varnish. “We practiced this combination once before on Thursday so that's pretty positive looking at it like that.

"Looking at it from the Olympic qualification point of view we delivered today."

Great Britain academy riders Ollie Wood and Mark Stewart finished eighth and 15th respectively in the men's points race.

Action continues tomorrow with the women’s sprint, women’s omnium, men’s omnium, men’s keirin, women’s points and men’s Madison. Follow the action at www.britishcycling.org.uk/twclive

Results

Men's team sprint qualification
Men's team sprint finals
Women's team pursuit qualification
Women's team pursuit semi-final
Women's team pursuit finals
Men's team pursuit qualification
Men's team pursuit semi-final
Men's team pursuit finals
Women's scratch race
Women's team sprint qualification
Women's team sprint finals
Men's points race

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