Great Britain’s women’s team pursuit squad won yet another world championship gold medal by overcoming a late scare to narrowly beat a resurgent Canadian quartet.
On a slow track, the British quartet of Katie Archibald, Joanna Rowsell and defending champions Elinor Barker and Laura Trott qualified fastest in 4:28.597 minutes.
And, despite trailing Canada in the opening laps of the gold medal ride and flirting with disaster in the finale, Great Britain claimed a sixth world title in seven years in the event, while Australia beat Poland to bronze.
Great Britain’s qualifying time was more than two seconds faster than Canada but Laura Brown, Jasmin Glaessar, Allison Beveridge and Stephanie Roorda took an early lead in the final.
By halfway Canada had more than a second’s advantage over the Brits, but they dropped a rider on the next lap and Britain fought back, gradually cutting the advantage.
Great Britain moved into the lead in the final 1,000m but, with a headwind blowing down the back straight of the open-sided velodrome, a botched changeover saw the quartet splinter.
With Trott still not on the back of the train after a pulling a huge shift on the front, Barker peeled off leaving Trott struggling to catch the wheels.
Barker dropped out, but Archibald and Rowsell remained a length in front of Trott as they approached the finish line, and while Trott finished significantly after her two team-mates, the Canadian trio were unable to take advantage, crossing the line just over a second later.
On the decision to peel off, Barker said: “It was a split-second decision and I haven’t spoken to my coach yet about whether it was the right thing to do or not.
“I just had to get out of the way and let the girls carry on with it. It was that close that we just would’ve lost it if I’d stayed on the front.”
For Trott it is a fourth straight world gold medal in the discipline since making her debut in 2011, while Rowsell also now has four gold medals (2008, 2009, 2012, 2014) alongside a silver from 2010.
And Britain’s track queen Trott said: “A perfect ride is always nice, but a stripey jersey is a stripey jersey so I guess that’s all that matters.
“I’m not sure what happened to the Canadians, they ended up with three riders so they also didn’t have a perfect ride so you get lucky sometimes and I guess that’s what happened.”
Meanwhile, another British defending champion, Jason Kenny, saw the rainbow jersey wrestled from his possession in the keirin after he was impeded in the final by German Maximilian Levy’s crash.
Kenny qualified first from his heat and then edged out compatriot Matt Crampton in the semi to claim the final spot in the medal ride.
Crampton won the ‘B’ final to finish seventh overall, but Kenny’s chances of defending his jersey were hampered when Levy hit the deck, forcing the Bolton man wide.
Francois Pervis (France) led from the front and secured the gold medal ahead of home favourite Fabian Hernando Puerta Zapata and Dutch rider Matthijs Buchli, with Kenny forced to settle for fifth after Levy’s crash.
The Bolton rider said: “It just left me floating around at the top of the track and totally out of the race.”
Becky James finished seventh in the 500m time trial despite setting a personal best to beat the time she clocked to claim bronze in 2013. Miriam Welte (Germany) took gold ahead of Australia’s Anna Meares and Russia’s Anastasiia Voinova, while Britain’s Victoria Williamson finished tenth.
In the men’s scratch race, defending champion Martyn Irvine was forced to settle for silver.
The Irishman was one of three riders to earn a lap on a field which included Great Britain’s Jonathan Dibben, part of the team pursuit squad which finished a disappointing eighth on day one, and Cannondale Pro Cycling’s Elia Viviani (Italy).
But Irvine was edged out at the finish, with Ivan Kovalev (Russia) taking gold and King Lok Cheung (Hong Kong) finishing third. Irvine also contested the individual pursuit, but along with Great Britain’s Owain Doull failed to qualify for the medal finals.
Irvine’s compatriot and rising star Ryan Mullen, Chrono des Nations espoir winner on the road, qualified fourth but lost out to New Zealand’s Marc Ryan in the race for bronze. Australia’s Alex Edmondson beat Stefan Kueng of Switzerland to the gold medal.