Great Britain defends team pursuit gold with world record

Host team sets new mark in the finals to topple rival Australia

LONDON (AFP) — Great Britain successfully defended its Olympic team pursuit crown in a new world record time of 3:51.659 at a packed Olympic Velodrome on Friday.

Australia finished second in 3:54.581 to win silver, while New Zealand won the bronze after beating Russia in the battle for third place.

A day after the men’s sprint team of Philip Hindes, Jason Kenny and Chris
Hoy defended its team sprint crown from Beijing in record time, Britain’s team pursuit quartet lived up to expectations to keep the crowd in raptures.

Ed Clancy, Steven Burke, Peter Kennaugh and Geraint Thomas had combined in qualifying to clock a world record of 3:52.499 for the 16-lap, 4km event on Thursday.

The same quartet underlined its gold medal credentials again by dipping under the 3:53 mark in 3:52.743 to top the times in Friday’s first round and book a final appearance with the Aussies.

In the final, Australia was never out of the match, keeping the deficit to Clancy, Burke, Kennaugh and Thomas to within a second.

However, the Aussies’ bid for gold suffered a blow when they lost Glenn O’Shea with several laps to go.

It was the eighth world record and sixth by a British team or rider in two days of competition at the London velodrome.