Great Britain’s men’s team pursuit squad were forced to settle for silver behind old foes Australia on the opening day of the UCI Track World Championships in Minsk, Belarus.
Ed Clancy and Steven Burke, part of Team GB’s Olympic gold medal winning foursome from London 2012, were joined by Andy Tennant and Sam Harrison in the Belarusian capital.
The quartet finished more than four seconds behind Australia, who clocked 3:56.751 minutes, in what is track cycling’s first major championship since the Games, where Great Britain once again topped the cycling medal table with eight golds.
“Of course it is disappointing, but this is the first stage in an Olympic cycle,” said double Olympic gold medallist Clancy.
“It is part of a long process with new faces in the team and we are in a better position than we were at the start of the last Olympic cycle in 2009.”
Tennant added: “It’s always disappointing to lose, you come here trying to win but all we can do is our best and I think between the four of us we gave it all and left it on the track.
“We didn’t have it as a unit and we’ve got things to work on. There’s bright prospects coming up and snapping at our heels so that’s going to push everyone forward.”
Earlier, Becky James and World Championship debutant Vicky Williamson won bronze in the women’s team sprint.
The duo, attempting to fill the shoes of the recently retired Victoria Pendleton and injured Jess Varnish, finished third in qualifying, behind eventual champions Germany and China, to setup a bronze medal ride against Australia, who were without Olympic sprint champion Anna Meares.
And James reversed a deficit of four-tenths of a second after the first lap to secure Great Britain’s first medal of the championship.
Meanwhile, Kian Emadi, one of six debutants at this level in the British squad, missed out on a medal in the men’s kilo by just 0.306 seconds.
Emadi clocked one minute 1.756 seconds to lead the competition with five riders remaining but slipped out of medals behind France’s Francois Pervis, Germany’s Joachim Eilers and New Zealand’s Simon van Velthooven.
“It’s always the way of the competition, you get up and if you post the fastest time you’ve just to wait and see the big guns go for it,” said Emadi, who will take Sir Chris Hoy’s role as ‘man three’ in the team sprint on Thursday.
The 20-year-old added: “In an ideal world maybe it wouldn’t be in this order [with the team sprint tomorrow] but it’s the World Championships and it’s an honour to ride in this event and given a good recovery strategy you can do both.”