Double Silver for Great Britain at Worlds


The Australian & New Zealand teams deny Great Britain rainbow jerseys in the Team Pursuit on day 2 of the Track Worlds

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Double Silver for Great Britain at Worlds

It was a night of double disappointment for the Great Britain team as they lost both their Gold medal finals to teams from Down Under.

In the Women’s Team Pursuit, the British foursome of Elinor Barker, Laura Trott, Katie Archibald and Joanna Rowsell were beaten by a storming Aussie team coached by Gary Sutton, brother of GB’s performance director Shane Sutton.

Whilst the GB team has had the event to themselves for many years, the Aussies have been working away and in Paris they blitzed their British rivals with a three second beating, denying GB a fifth-consecutive world title.

It was a new world record for the Australians; Ashlee Ankudinoff, Amy Cure, Annette Edmondson, and Melissa Hoskins.

Fastest qualifiers in a national record time (4:18.135) on the opening day of competition on Wednesday, the quartet lowered that mark again with 4.17.410 in Thursday afternoon’s first round defeat of New Zealand.

In the Ashes on the Track women’s final, Great Britain took an early advantage after the first two laps, before Australia settled in to the fast Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines velodrome.

The Aussie quartet built up a lead of just over a second at the halfway mark, before extending their advantage to almost two seconds heading into the final kilometre. With the rainbow jerseys coming into their sights with every lap travelled, the team kicked into a higher gear in the final few hundred metres, roaring home to end the four-year British reign on the event and stamping their own mark with a world record time of 4:13.683secs, three seconds ahead of their opponents, and almost three seconds better than the old mark (4:16.552).


“It’s still a bit surreal. I just can’t believe it,” said Australian Cure, 22. “We’ve been training so well together as a group. I think this last year we’ve really been focusing on ourselves more and I think that really showed today. We all went out there, backed ourselves and each other”.

“Sutto (Gary Sutton) really knew us out there. We did exactly what we planned to do, stuck by the schedule and came home with the goods.”

Sydney’s Ashlee Ankudinoff, the lone remaining member of the 2010 world championship winning team was ecstatic to reclaim the crown. “I’m a bit speechless. I definitely forgot what it was like to win a world championship,” said Ankudinoff, 24.

“To do it here today with three of my best mates is a really special moment. We’ve had a few kicks in the guts along the way with always being bridesmaids to Great Britain. We’ve put in the hard work together and not just win the gold medal but to do it in world record style is pretty cool.”

For the Brits, it was a wakeup call that they have challengers for the Olympic crown they won in London. Joanne Rowsell said afterwards “Definitely better (to lose) this year than next year. I was thinking (on the podium), ‘Enjoy that while it lasts, girls, it’s only going to last a year’.”

“Trott, previously unbeaten in the event – as were Archibald and Barker – added “It’s disappointing. We are used to being on the top step so it was a different feeling. But we rode a PB, quicker than we’ve ever been before at sea level, and for us that is a massive step. It also shows we have work to do. You have to have four girls going good on the same day. And they did.”

In the Men’s Team Pursuit, the British quartet of Ed Clancy, Andy Tennant, Steven Burke and Owain Doull came up against the third fastest team from round 1 but fastest qualifiers, New Zealand.

On day 1 for the qualifiers, the Aussies had a freak mechanical and after a restart were only fifth after dying a death in the final kilometre. That was their race for the Gold medal already over because of the convoluted nature of the three round system the UCI now runs the event under. To say they have killed track cycling is an understatement.

Day 2 of the championships and the Team Pursuit saw the Brits redeem themselves from the year before with a great ride in round 1, going fastest to make the Gold medal final. But their opponents were not to be the Aussies who showed what they could do with second fastest but the Kiwis.

Whilst there are two sides to the argument of who should have been in that final, there is no doubt that New Zealand made it one of the best Team Pursuit finals in history against the British World Record holders.

The Kiwis started fast but after 3k, Great Britain came back only for New Zealand’s Pieter Bulling, Regan Gough, Dylan Kennett and Alex Frame to deliver a final fatal blow. New Zealand won in the fastest time of the competition, lifting themselves to new highs with Olympic style times, 3:54.088 to Britain’s 3:54.687.

Absolutely bloody amazing racing from both teams.

Rob Hayles on speaking on the BBC, and a former World Champion in the event said “Once they went down to three riders when Ed Clancy dropped out, I thought I was going to lose my voice doing the commentary. Panic can set into the team. The Kiwis went down to three riders too but had so much left over the GB riders”.

“When you get into the position of a final it’s not about the performance, it’s about the win. The performance was great, they can hold their head up high with the way they’ve performed but I know that will be of very, very little consolation.”

It was a huge improvement from the 2014 World championships, when Great Britain slumped to eighth. Double Olympic champion Ed Clancy said: “It was only a month ago Burkey was lying in the road with a broken collarbone, Doull was cut to ribbons (after being involved in the same crash) and I didn’t think we were coming here”.

“We had a shocker of an event (in 2014). Understandably we got a fair bit of flack for that. It was a massive improvement. Shane said to us this morning, irrespective of what happens today we can do Rio now – and he’s right. There’s more to come. We can’t guarantee we’ll get out and win, but we’ve got a chance now and we believe we’ve got a chance.”

It was confirmation that their new coach Heiko Salzwedel was bringing them back to a new level with a radical new training regime.

In other events, Matt Gibson, a winner of a round of the Pearl Izumi Tour Series last year, showed what a great rider he is already with sixth in the Men’s Scratch race at his first senior World Championships. He’s a name to keep an eye on for sure!

Meanwhile, Jason Kenny was knocked out in the first round of the Men’s Keirin and in the women’s 500m time trial, Katy Marchant was 13th in her world-championships debut. Victoria Williamson was 15th.

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