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Geraint Thomas recorded the fastest time in the individual pursuit since the Superman position was banned in October 1996.

The Welsh rider blasted into the final of the 4,000-metre pursuit in Manchester today, where he will meet Belgian Dominique Cornu. Thomas’s time was 4-15.015.

Chris Boardman’s world record of 4-11.114, set on the Manchester track at the 1996 World Championships, is still some way away, but Thomas has ridden faster than Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins has ever done in competition.

Boardman’s record was set using the so-called Superman position, using longer triathlon-style handlebars that allowed the arms to be extended straight and full in front of the body, which also allows the head to tuck in lower. Today’s position does not allow for that extension and is not as aerodynamic. Boardman also did a 4-13 in qualification at that Worlds.

Wiggins posted a time of 4-15.031 in qualification at the Beijing Olympic Games last summer. Thomas was in the frame to take Britain’s other place in the individual pursuit in China, but stepped aside in order to concentrate fully on the team pursuit, which Britain won. Steven Burke rode the individual instead and won a bronze medal. Thomas had been posting times in training prior to Beijing which suggested he was capable of a silver medal.

Off the back of two weeks training, Thomas won the National Championship pursuit with a 4-18.

With Wiggins and the American Taylor Phinney all capable of riding 4-15 times, it seems an element of competition has returned to the pursuit just as the UCI is proposing to drop it from the Olympic Games programme for 2012.



FASTEST 4,000M INDIVIDUAL PURSUIT TIMES



4-11.114 World record*

Chris Boardman (Great Britain)

Manchester, World Championships final 1996



4-13.353*

Chris Boardman (Great Britain)

Manchester, World Championships 1996



4-15.015

Geraint Thomas (Great Britain)

Manchester, World Cup, October 2009



4-15.031

Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain)

Beijing, Olympic Games qualifying, August 2008



4-15.160

Taylor Phinney (USA)

Pruszkow, Poland, World Championships, March 2009



4-15.165

Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain)

Athens, Olympic Games qualifying, August 2004



4-15.223

Taylor Phinney (USA)

Copenhagen, World Cup, February 2009



* Set using the Superman position, which has been banned

LINK

Olympic Games track programme shake-up: What the proposals will mean

Manchester Track World Cup 2009: Cycling Weekly’s full coverage index

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