Olympics: Golden Night in East London for GB

Sensational Gold medals for the Men’s Team Pursuit and Victoria Pendleton crowned a fantastic night for GB at the Olympic Velodrome in East London.

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The Great Britain team showed yet again that of all the nations in the cycling World, they are the only ones to have found the right formula for stepping up a gear for the Olympics just as they did in Beijing in 2008.

Whilst other countries yet again have either stayed where they were form wise or gone backwards, the Brits are on fire and yet again dominating the track just as Bradley Wiggins dominated the Tour de France. It is quite scary just how dominate they are!

Every team has set a new World Record and with the sensational form that Victoria Pendleton showed in the Women’s Keirin, it will be interesting to see whether she can set a World record in the Women’s Sprint qualifying.

Two Gold medals and a fastest time (plus World record) in the third event held on the afternoon in East London was quite perfect for team Great Britain. And it will get better!

Men’s Team Pursuit
Gold! After setting the World record in earlier rounds of the Team Pursuit, Great Britain expected to be pushed to a new World Record by their rivals Australia in the final and whilst that didn’t happen, the Brits carried on regardless pursing the World Record and did just that, breaking their own world record. The top five times ever recorded for the Team Pursuit (men) have now all be set by GB in the last four years. That shows the progress made from the days when they struggled to beat the Australians.

Unlike previous years when the team have used five or six members of a team in the three rounds of the event, coach Dan Hunt stuck with the four he used from the word go; Ed Clancy, Geraint Thomas, Peter Kennaugh and Steven Burke. The fifth member of the team, Andy Tennant, had to watch from the side lines after being part of the team on its long journey over the past three years since Beijing.

The first round of the day was a formality as GB dismissed Denmark’s challenge to make the Gold medal final and Australia likewise did the same to their near neighbours, New Zealand. After having to sit through rounds for fifth to eight which we don’t have to endure at the Worlds, the battle for Gold never reached the heights the race for the rainbow jerseys did earlier this year.

Britain were simply on another level. Just as Australia have been in the past, year after year denying GB a Gold medal at Worlds and Olympics, this time round it was the turn of the Brits to give the Aussies a beating that will hurt. Leading from the start, Ed Clancy took them four tenths up very quickly, a pace that the Aussies man 1, world record holder for the Pursuit, Jack Bobridge, was unable to match.

The Aussies almost got close to holding the gap for a lap or two but the Brits soon broke them and steamed ahead to set a new World Record and as Ed Clancy said later, “I’m not sure it’ll ever get any better than that! Home Olympic gold! Thank you so much to EVERYONE that’s helped us along our journey!”

Not only had GB defended their title from Beijing but this win had riders who had all been through development programmes within the GB Cycling team and is part of the new age of the GB team.

Geraint Thomas explained to Jill Douglas of BBC on his way to get the Gold medal, “In November we were at the track at 7.30 in the morning. They stopped us going to a Rihanna concert unfortunately. They have been on our backs since then.”

“It has been full on. To finish it off is amazing. I was ill last week and actually it’s been hard to get back to where I was but without these boys, I couldn’t have done it. We all bounce off each other and it’s unbelievable, I sacrificed a lot this year. With the unity of the team though, I would miss the Tour any day to feel like that again, the crowd were just immense.”

I would miss the Tour any day to feel like that again, the crowd were just immense

Ed Clancy, the fastest man out of the gate and the rider who gave them their lead so quickly, said of the win, “we had good vibes in the Newport training camp three or four weeks ago and we were talking about the time we thought we could do. We just spent so many years thinking about this moment and when it happened it was just a mad explosion of emotion.”

Peter Kennaugh meanwhile praised his teammates, Ed Clancy and Steven Burke “This feels really amazing you know. It’s a team event but hats off to Ed and Burkey, they were the stronger two by far and we could not have done that without them. They were absolutely amazing.”

Dan Hunt (men’s endurance coach) talking about the ride said “It was controlled, that’s what team pursuiting is about, you can’t really ride ragged. If you go ragged, you go slow. Smooth is fast so we went out to ride fast but smooth. We could have gone faster in the opening kilo but we would have come off it – we pitched it about right.”

“It’s always in the last kilometre that you come apart and we knew that the World Record was on. The key thing is that’s just one ride out of three. All we’ve done here is state our intent, that’s all. I think we can go quicker.”

All we’ve done here is state our intent, that’s all. I think we can go quicker

Women’s Keirin – Gold for Queen Vic
The title Queen Vic could not be more apt in the East End of London where the soap opera East Enders is based (not filmed I might add!). And you could say that the journey that Victoria Pendleton has been on since she came into the GB programme in 2001 after completing a sports science degree has been a soap opera of its own.

Ups and down, tears of joy mixed with tears of pain, the Stotfold woman has emerged from a shower of huge pressure to triumph in the most amazing manner.

In the final competition of her career, and after the cruel disqualification the day before, the rider who has balanced making the most of her celebrity status as a major world star in sport and training for the biggest competition of her life, came out of it with an even bigger reputation as a stunning athlete able to rise to the big occasion.

The final of the Women’s Keirin was all hers. In a final packed with likely winners, lining up on the outside of the track was the crowd favourite Victoria Pendleton, her big rival Anna Meares next to her and French girl Sanchez on the inside. This was the event that has been a bit of a difficult one for Victoria over the years but you would not have known that after watching her win.

It was the Chinese rider Guo Shuang who got the back of the derny off the start while Victoria was third in the string with Anna Meares second from the back. As the derny, ridden by Peter Deary, pulled off the track, it was Anna Meares who made the first move. The Aussie went the long way round to get to the front and with Pendleton in fourth place, they still had two laps to go. Too early, probably.

Down the back straight, Pendleton made her move, hitting the front as the bell rang out for one lap to go and it was race over for the rest. The GB rider gave it her all and whilst China’s Shuang Guo did her best to get on terms with the Brit, coming alongside Pendleton as they hit the line half a wheel back, the victory, such a sweet victory, was Pendleton’s.

The first Women’s Keirin Olympic Gold medal for the Queen of the sprint since 2005 was hers. Afterwards, talking to Jill Douglas of BBC, Victoria said “I can barely believe I’ve won! It was really hard with the excitement of the girls in the Team Pursuit doing a great job and then the guys smashing the World Record and winning a gold medal. I was just like ‘focus Vic, focus. It was so hard, I can’t believe it! The crowd was so fantastic and they have really helped me. ”

When it was put to Victoria that she couldn’t of ridden a more perfect race, she replied “I think Jan (van Eijden, coach) will have something to say about that! He told me not to look at their race, just ride your own, when it’s your moment, just go. I really wanted to show what I’ve got and it worked out okay.”

 I really wanted to show what I’ve got and it worked out okay

“I’m really looking forward to the sprint. I am hoping my time trial (flying 200 metres) will be a little better than it has been over the last few years as I have been working on it a lot. I think I have a good chance in the sprint.”

A good chance indeed as the sprint has been Victoria’s preferred event ever since she took the world title in Los Angeles in 2005 and ever since has been almost impossible to beat.

Women’s Team Pursuit
Favourites for the Gold medal, Great Britain were expecting to be challenged but in the end, the only challenge they faced was whether they could lower their own World Record and the answer to that was a resounding yes.

Off last of all the teams, all the countries off before Great Britain struggled to match or break their own national records never mind get near the World Record of Laura Trott, Joanna Rowsell and Dani King. The trio, all youngsters with a long career ahead of them, were streets ahead of their rivals clocking a time of 3:15.669 to go through to tomorrow’s first round as clear favourites.

It was only a few years ago that Dani King was released from the GB Sprint squad and has not only fought her way back into the GB team but also shown herself to be a leading light in the World of Women’s Team Pursuit with multiple World titles to her name now.

Her teammates were awesome; Laura Trott is only just out of the Junior ranks and was also part of the GB sprint programme before switching to the endurance programme and Joanna Rowsell, the team’s power house has been part of the set up the longest.

The British trio, who lowered their own best set in April in Melbourne, are set to meet Canada in what is effectively a semi-final tomorrow. Canada clocked 3:19.816 to progress in fourth, while second-fastest qualifiers, the United States (3:19.406) will meet Australia (3:19.719), the third quickest, in the second semi-final.



1. Great Britain 3:51.659 WR
(Ed Clancy, Geraint Thomas, Peter Kennaugh, Steven Burke)
Splits: 1:02.518, 55.967, 56.287, 56.887

2. Australia 3:54.581 +
(Jack Bobridge, Glenn O’Shea, Dennis Rohan, Michael Hepburn)
Splits: 1:02.828, 56.216, 57.198, 58.339

3. New Zealand 3:55.952
4. Russia 3:58.282

5. Denmark 4:02.671
6. Spain 4:02.746

7. Netherlands 4:04.569
8. Colombia 4:04.772
Round 1

Heat 1
Spain 3:59.520
Colombia 4:05.485

Heat 2
Russia 3:57.237
Netherlands 4:04.029

Heat 3
Australia 3:54.317
New Zealand 3:56.442

Heat 4
Great Britain 3:52.743
Denmark 3:57.396

Click here for qualifying results ….


1 Victoria PENDLETON Great Britain
2 Shuang GUO China
3 Wai Sze LEE Hong Kong
4 Clara SANCHEZ France
5 Anna MEARES Australia
6 Monique SULLIVAN Canada

Minor Final
7 Simona KRUPECKAITE Lithuania
8 Ekaterina GNIDENKO Russian
9 Daniela GreluiLARREAL Venezuela
10 Kristina VOGEL Germany
11 Natasha HANSEN New Zealand
12 Willy KANIS Netherlands

Second Round
1 Anna MEARES Australia
2 Monique SULLIVAN Canada
3 Wai SzeLEE Hong Kong,
4 Willy KANIS Netherlands
5 Simona KRUPECKAITE Lithuania
6 Kristina VOGEL Germany

Heat 2
1 Victoria PENDLETON Great Britain
2 Clara SANCHEZ France
3 Shuang GUO China
4 Ekaterina GNIDENKO Russia
5 Natasha HANSEN New Zealand
6 Daniela Grelui LARREAL Venezuela


Heat 1
1 Germany VOGEL Kristina
2 Russian Federation GNIDENKO Ekaterina
4 Colombia GAVIRIA RENDON Juliana
5 Canada SULLIVAN Monique
6 France SANCHEZ Clara

Heat 2
1 Great Britain PENDLETON Victoria
2 Australia MEARES Anna
3 New Zealand HANSEN Natasha
4 Malaysia MUSTAPA Fatehah
5 Ukraine SHULIKA Lyubov
6 Netherlands KANIS Willy

Heat 3
1 Shuang GUO China
2 Simona KRUPECKAITE Lithuania
3 Daniela GreluiLARREAL Venezuela
4 Wai Sze LEE Hong Kong
5 LEE Hyejin Korea
6 Olga PANARINA Belarus


1 Great Britain 3:15.669 World Record
(Laura Trott, Dani King, Joanna Rowsell)
Splits: 1:08.669, 1:03.492, 1:03.508

2 United States 3:19.406
3 Australia 3:19.719
4 Canada 3:19.816
5 New Zealand 3:20.421
6 Netherlands 3:21.602
7 Germany 3:22.058
8 Belarus 3:22.850
9 Ukraine 3:25.160
10 China 3:26.049



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