Britain’s women did a fine job of flying the flag at the new London velodrome, coming away from Friday’s Track World Cup sessions with two gold medals and two new world records.
First Jess Varnish and Victoria Pendleton overhauled faster qualifiers Anna Meares and Kaarle McCulloch of Australia in the final of the team sprint, before Laura Trott, Dani King and Jo Rowsell did likewise to the Canadians in the team pursuit.
The Australian world team sprint champions set the new velodrome’s first world record in qualifying when they recorded 32.828 seconds to Britain’s 32.966 in the afternoon session. But come the evening, both Brits raised their game.
Cheered on by the capacity 6,000 crowd, Varnish improved on her opening lap time and then Pendleton played a blinder to turn a 0.2 second deficit at the bell to an almost matching advantage at the line. Their 32.754 raised the record another notch.
“It’s unbelievable when the crowd roars. I was shaking on my bike,” said Pendleton.
“I didn’t think we were going faster in the final but we did,”
The women’s team pursuit finals which followed were even more sensational with the Brits getting away quickly and leading through both the kilometre splits.
Substituting in Dani King for Wendy Houvenaghel seemed to have done the trick, and spurred on by home fans, they crossed the line in 3:18.148. This shaved over a second off the previous record of 3-19.164 -set all of five minutes earlier by the Australian trio in the bronze medal ride off.
“We knew it was on,” noted Rowsell of the record. “We’ve been riding above world record pace for the last few training sessions.”
“We were a little bit disappointed with our ride yesterday but we knew if we got it right tonight it would all come together.
Taking the silver, the Canadian trio of Tara Whitten, Gillian Carleton and Jasmin Glaesser also did a sub 3-19 second ride. Trott conceded that, along with Australia and New Zealand, they will be another team to keep an eye on in the run up to the Olympics.
On the men’s side of things, the British team continued to struggle with the man one position in the team sprint. Ross Edgar filled the role here in London, but the splits said it all. As the Germans and French qualified for the final, the British riders were fourth setting them up for a pairing off with arch rivals Australia for the bronze. Clocking a time of 43.781, they salvaged the medal, while the Germans won the close final.
Despite the niggling issue, Chris Hoy sounded content with the ride, describing it as “solid bordering on pleasing” and noting they still had Matt Crampton as another option in the line-up.
“Just to be within striking distance of the big two nations at the moment is quite pleasing,” he said. “I think it’s the quickest ride since 2009 in the team sprint. We’ve had some pretty mediocre performances in the last year or so, not every time, but in and out it bodes well for the Worlds and Olympics”
Crampton for his part took a fourth place in the token kilometre time trial behind German Stefan Nimke. The only other British performance today came from Ben Swift in the Omnium. After an 11th and 13th in the flying lap and points race, he brought the curtain down on the evning with third in the elimination race.
Women’s 10km Scratch Race
1. Melissa Hoskins (AUS)
2. Jarmila Machacova (CZE)
3. Lesya Kalitovska (UKR)
Women’s Team Sprint
1. Great Britain (Jess Varnish, Victoria Pendleton) 32.754secs (World Record)
2. Australia (Anna Meares, Kaarle McCulloch) 32.945
3. China (Jinjie Gong, Shuang Guo) 33.060
Women’s 3km Team Pursuit
1. Great Britain (Laura Trott ,Dani King, Jo Rowsell) 3:18.148 (World Record)
2. Canada (Tara Whitten, Gillian Carleton, Jasmin Glaesser) 3:18.982
3. Australia (Annette Edmondson, Amy Cure, Josephine Tomic) 3:19.164
Men’s Team Sprint
1. Germany (Rene Enders, Robert Forstermann, Maximilian Levy) 43.562secs
2. France (Gregory Bauge, Mickael D’Almedia, Kevin Sireau) 43.631
3. Great Britain (Ross Edgar, Jason Kenny, Chris Hoy) 43.781
Men’s 1km Time Trial
1. Stefan Nimke (GER) 1:01.211
2. D’Almeida (FRA) 1:02.036
3. Van Velthoov (NED) 1:02.048
Men’s 40km Points Race
1.Unai Elorriaga Zubiaur (EUS)
2. Edwin Avila (COL)
3. Albert Torres Barcelo (SPA)
Men’s Omnium –
Rd I – One Lap Flying TT
1. Zach Bell (CAN)
2. Juan Esteban Arango (COL)
3. Hao Liu (CHI)
11. Ben Swift (GBR)
Rd II – 30km Points Race
1. Elroy Teruel Rovira (SPA)
2. Juan Esteban Arango (COL)
3. Luis Mansilla (CHI)
13. Ben Swift (GBR)
Rd III Elimination Race
1. Elia Viviani (ITA)
2. Bryan Coquard (FRA)
3. Ben Swift (GBR)