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GLASGOW, Scotland (AFP) — Bradley Wiggins returned to track cycling for the first time since 2008 at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland on Thursday and helped lead England to the final of the men’s 4000m team pursuit at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.
England will battle it out with fierce rival Australia, who set the fastest time in qualifying, for the gold medal.
Wiggins, competing in his first Commonwealth Games since Manchester 2002, is looking for his first ever gold medal at the Games to go with his Tour de France and four Olympic titles.
Canada and New Zealand will face each other in the bronze medal event.
England’s Jason Kenny, the current Olympic sprint champion, scraped into the quarterfinals of the men’s sprint after claiming a place through a first round repechage along with compatriot Matthew Crampton.
They will join New Zealand trio Sam Webster, Matthew Archibald, and Eddie Dawkins, Australians Matthew Glaetzer and Peter Lewis, and Malaysian Mohd Awang in Friday’s quarterfinals.
English rider Philip Hindes, who was part of the Great Britain team that claimed team sprint gold at the 2012 London Olympics, failed to qualify after finishing last in his first round repechage.
The day got off to a flying start with the men’s sprint Commonwealth Games record being smashed four times during qualifying.
Lewis was the first to better compatriot Shane Perkins previous record of 10.058 when he went under 10 seconds for the first time at the Games, clocking in at 9.975.
His record stood for less than five minutes before Kiwi Webster went faster in 9.933, only to see teammate Eddie Dawkins better it with a time of 9.818.
However, Glaetzer, saved the best until last as he flew round the track in 9.779 to set down a marker to the rest of the riders.
Para-cycling is making its Games debut in Glasgow and host nation Scotland will take on fierce rivals England in the Women’s para-tandem sprint final.
The Scottish team of Aileen McGlynn and Louise Haston will face Sophie Thornhill and Helen Scott for the gold medal while the battle for bronze will be an all Australian affair as Felicity Johnson and Holly Takos take on Brandie O’Connor and Breanna Hargrave.