Rio 2016 Olympic Games: Great Britain smash world record to win team pursuit - Road Cycling UK

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Rio 2016 Olympic Games: Great Britain smash world record to win team pursuit

Laura Trott becomes first British female to win three Olympic golds; Becky James wins keirin silver; Callum Skinner and Jason Kenny into sprint final

Laura Trott became the first female British Olympian to win three gold medals as the women’s team pursuit quartet followed the men in winning gold in world record time.

Trott, Joanna Rowsell Shand, Elinor Barker and Katie Archibald stopped the clock in 4.10.236 to better their world record for the second time in the day and beat USA – who themselves had briefly held the world record – to gold.

And Britain’s third track cycling gold medal of the Games was followed by a keirin silver for Becky James, who capped her recovery from an injury-ravaged two seasons to win her first Olympic medal.

And there will be at least another gold and silver to follow, after Callum Skinner and Jason Kenny finished the day by qualifying for the men’s sprint final.

Great Britain’s women’s team pursuit quartet won Olympic gold in world record time (pic: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)

In the women’s team pursuit, world champions USA proved they would be no pushovers, beating Great Britain’s world record from Friday night on their way to beating Australia in a time of 4.12.282.

But the Brits took the upper hand going into the final by reclaiming the record in the very next heat.

Riding against Canada for a place in the final, Canada lost their first rider early on – as they had done in qualifying – as Britain surged ahead.

With coach Paul Manning calling for more, however, it was clear they wanted their world record back and Rowsell Shand only dropped off with two laps remaining, leaving Trott, Barker and Archibald to stop the clock in 4.12.152.

In the final, the Americans started quickest but the British quartet were in front by the halfway point and ahead of world record pace.

As America went down to three riders, the Brits pressed home their advantage and stretched their lead to more than a second.

Rowsell dropped off, after digging deep following an earlier shallow change, and there was a small gap to Barker off the back on the final lap, but victory was assured.

The only question that remained was whether the world record would fall again, and by how much, and the answer was a very comprehensive yes – their time of 4.10.236 matching the 4.10 target set by Manning when the discipline was first expanded to four riders.

The other medal on offer on the day was in the keirin, with James flying the British flag and doing so in style in qualifying – the Welsh rider on the front for some time in her first heat to qualify in first place.

A big crash marred one of the other heats, however – Tania Calvo (Spain), Virginie Cueff (France) and Olivia Podmore (New Zealand) all hitting the deck, and Dutch rider Laurine van Riessen only staying upright by riding ‘wall of death’ style on the advertising hoarding.

James qualified second in her semi-final – another heat notable for a crash, as London 2012 bronze medallist Lee Wai Sze’s hopes of a medal ended on the Velodrome floor.

James started the sprint further back this time out, but came over the top and eased on the final straight as she booked herself a place in the final.

And the final followed a similar pattern – sans crash – as the Welsh woman came from well back with a monstrous effort on the final lap.

Riding over the top, James overtook the likes of world champion Kristina Vogel (Germany) and Australia’s Anna Meares to bag a silver medal that seemed very unlikely just two years ago as she battled a knee injury.

Her late acceleration was too late to beat the Netherlands’ Ellis Ligtlee to gold, but James’ celebrations with her family showed just what the silver medal meant to her.

Laura Trott is the first British woman to win three Olympic gold medals (pic: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)

Fellow Olympic debutant Skinner is also guaranteed at least a silver medal after coming through the men’s sprint with an unblemished record.

The Scot came from behind to win his 1/8 final match sprint against Patrick Constable, and then defeated China’s Xu Chao in two straight races to reach the semi-finals.

He faced Australia’s Matthew Glaetzer there, but got his tactics spot on – especially in the second race, when he dropped up and down the banking to book his place in the gold medal final.

Kenny, meanwhile, beat Colombia’s Fabian Zapata to reach the quarter-finals, where Constable was again his opponent – the Australian having come through the repechage.

But Kenny won in two straight races to set up a showdown with Russia’s Denis Dmitriev in the semi-finals.

His unblemished record was ended in the first race, when Dmitriev came from behind to win, but Kenny got his tactics right in coming from behind with plenty of height to force a decider.

And Kenny led the final sprint out from the front to book his own place in the final, finding an extra burst of speed around the final bend to win comfortably.

Rio 2016 Olympic Games: women’s team pursuit – result

1) Great Britain – 4.10.236 (world record)
2) USA
3) Canada
4) Australia

Rio 2016 Olympic Games: women’s keirin – result

1) Ellis Ligtlee (Netherlands)
2) Becky James (Great Britain)
3) Anna Meares (Australia)
4) Anastasiia Voinova (Russia)
5) Lyubov Shulika (Ukraine)
6) Kristina Vogel (Germany)

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