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Britain sets world record in winning team pursuit

Reigning champions Britain defended their team pursuit title in a new official world record time of 3:56.322 at the world track cycling championships in Manchester England on Thursday. Denmark finished second to claim the silver medal while Australia overcame some late race drama in their duel with New Zealand to claim the bronze. Australia, the Olympic champions, had set the previous world record in the 16-lap 4km event in a time of 3:56.610 in Athens in 2004 and they were quick to congratulate their new world pacesetters.

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American Sarah Hammer earns a silver in womens pursuit

By AFP

Great Britain pursuit team on their way to their qualification for the final.

Great Britain pursuit team on their way to their qualification for the final.

Photo: AFP PHOTO/MARTIN BUREAU

Reigning champions Britain defended their team pursuit title in a new official world record time of 3:56.322 at the world track cycling championships in Manchester England on Thursday.

Denmark finished second to claim the silver medal while Australia overcame some late race drama in their duel with New Zealand to claim the bronze.

Australia, the Olympic champions, had set the previous world record in the 16-lap 4km event in a time of 3:56.610 in Athens in 2004 and they were quick to congratulate their new world pacesetters.

Denmark had posted the fastest time of qualifying in 3:57.734 to claim their place in the final as Britain, the only other team to go below the four-minute mark, clocked 3:58.983.

However the Danes, one of the up and coming powers in the endurance event, quickly lost touch as the British quartet of Edward Clancy, Geraint Thomas, Paul Manning and Bradley Wiggins powered their way around the boards.

After a quarter of the race Denmark were already 0.527 behind the leading pace and by the halfway mark they had slipped to 1.162 behind. They then lost Michael Faerk Christensen in the last quarter of the race.

Britain stayed focused on their task, and the quartet finally came over the finish line to rapturous applause.

It is Wiggins’ second gold medal in as many days having defended his individual pursuit crown on Wednesday.

Britain’s thus pick up their third world title in the team pursuit, following their victories in 2007 and 2005.

Hammer earns silver medal in women’s pursuit

Colombia's Maria Luisa Calle Williams

Colombia’s Maria Luisa Calle Williams

Photo: AFP PHOTO/MARTIN BUREAU

Rebecca Romero of Britain overpowered Sarah Hammer of the United States to win the women’s individual pursuit title Thursday.

Romero, a former world champion in rowing who won an Olympic silver medal in 2004, clocked a winning time of 3min 30.501 to beat the two-time defending American who began fading badly less than halfway into the race.

Hammer eventually finished over three seconds adrift. As a medalist, Hammer will earn an automatic nomination to the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team.

“The biggest thing for me was making the Olympic Team,” Hammer said.

After winning three consecutive bronze medals on the UCI Track World Cup circuit this season, Hammer’s silver medal at the world championships illustrates her recovery from a lingering back injury that has hampered her training and racing over the last eight months.

“It’s easy to get caught up in winning the final ride,” she said, “but more importantly I feel like myself again. Now it’s just a matter of getting it dialed in before August.”

Australia’s Katie Mactier claimed her second consecutive bronze in the 3km event after overpowering Britain’s Wendy Houvenaghel in their medal duel.

Romero, who won an Olympic silver medal in the quadruple sculls rowing event at Athens in 2004, turned to track cycling only in 2006.

She made an immediate impact, winning the British road time trial title in practically her first race.

After becoming British time trial champion on the track in 2007, she grabbed her first world medal, a silver, after finishing second behind Hammer in the pursuit at last year’s championships in Mallorca.

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