The first event at the new London Velodrome began on Thursday evening in front of a capacity crowd. Although there were only two events on the programme – the Women’s and Men’s Team Pursuit qualifiers – and no medals awarded, a close competition and a little local interest meant that the Pringle shaped roof was nearly blown off the stadium.

Full results and photo gallery

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Thursday 16 February

Women’s Team Pursuit Qualification

The World Cup opened with the Qualifying session for the Women’s Team Pursuit and it was World Record holders the USA that set the early pace. Their existing World Record was set at altitude in Mexico and early hints that this may be a quick track started to surface when the US squad were ahead of schedule to break it into the last kilometre. The trio of Sarah Hammer, Jennie Reed and Lauren Tomayo finished with a decent – but not spectacular – time of 3:23.208.

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Their lead in the competition lasted only until Heat 5 when Canada – with multiple World Champion Tara Whitten and relative newcomers Gillian Carleton and Jasmine Glaesser (in their 3rd and 2nd team pursuits respectively) – again set off at World Record pace and, again, faded slightly at the end. It was a much stronger finish, though and left them in first place with a time of 3:20.785 – 1.2 seconds off the record.

Heat 8 and Annette Edmondson, Melissa Hoskins and Josephine Tomic took to the track – and set off ahead of World Record pace. Again, they couldn’t quite hold it towards the end and closed out the 3km in 3:21.426. Great Britain were going to have to do something special to join Canada at the top of the leaderboard.

But there was more drama to come before they took to the track – first, in the form of the Netherlands team of Kirsten Wild, Vera Koedooder and Ellen van Dijk – who pipped the USA for 3rd spot with a 3:22.776 – and then New Zealand, who were never on the pace and took a precarious 4th spot with a 3:25.468.

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Two teams left – Great Britian and Belarus. Wendy Houvenaghel, Laura Trott and Jo Rowsell went off like a train and set the fastest opening kilometre of the evening, followed by the second fastest middle phase. With four laps to go they were eight tenths of a second up on the Canadian team, but they’d overcooked it and despite the crowd urging them on could only set the fifth fastest time of the night, losing 1.3 seconds to finish half a second behind the Canadian squad. With Belarus disqualified from their heat, that meant that Great Britain would face Canada in Friday night’s final with Australia racing the Netherlands for the Bronze.

1 Canada 3:20.785 (Tara WHITTEN, Gillian CARLETON, Jasmin GLAESSER)
2 Great Britain 3:21.370  (Laura TROTT, Wendy HOUVENAGHEL, Joanna ROWSELL)

3 Australia 3:21.426 (Annette EDMONDSON, Melissa HOSKINS, Josephine TOMIC)
4 Netherlands 3:22.776 (Kirsten WILD, Vera KOEDOODER, Ellen VAN DIJK)

5 United States 3:23.208
6 New Zealand 3:25.468
7 Lithuania 3:28.156
8 Germany 3:28.387
9 Ukraine 3:28.633
10 China 3:29.136
11 Belgium 3:29.188
12 RUSVELO 3:30.190
13 Poland 3:30.975
14 Japan 4:13.408

Belarus DSQ

Men’s Team Pursuit Qualification

The North American teams set the pace in early stages of the Women’s Team Pursuit, but it was the South Americans who got the crowd going in the Men’s competition. First Chile deposed France from the top of the leaderboard with a very creditable 4:10.222, then, following Spain’s disqualification, Colombia leaped ahead of LokoSphinx with an impressive 4:08.287.

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The big guns, though, were from Europe and Australasia and the first of them to go was Great Britain. The impressive support for the GB Women’s team was eclipsed by a wall of sound as the crowd urged on Steven Burke, Ed Clancy, Peter Kennaugh and Geraint Thomas. Once again we saw a blistering heat with the GB boys quickly pulling out an six second lead over Belgium which they stretched to eight by the gun. 3:58.446 was a good time – and the crowd were delighted – but there were some sightly concerned faces in the track centre. New Zealand were capable of that sort of time – as were Rusvelo. A medal ride was still likely, but it wasn’t guaranteed to be for the Gold.

After another disastrous ride from fairly recent World Champions Denmark, New Zealand were – at that point – the second fastest squad at every stage of the race with Sam Bewley, Aaron Gate, Wes Gough and Marc Ryan holding their pace for 3km before drifting a little on the run-in. They were second, but they were six seconds of Great Britain’s pace and there were still two teams left to ride.

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Australia were up first – ‘resplendent’ in their, frankly, hideous World Cup Leaders skinsuits – and Jack Bobridge, Rohan Dennis, Alexander Edmondson and Michael Hepburn looked like they had a point to prove to the crowd. They went from the gun and were a tenth up after the opening kilometre and four tenths ahead by the half way mark. They conceded two tenths to Great Britain over the
penultimate kilometre but bettered then Brits by three tenths over the final four laps to finish on 3:57.885 – six tenths ahead.

Both the leading times were within Russia’s capability on their day, but this wasn’t it. Their 4:06.823 condemned them to fifth and left the final to be contested between Australia and Great Britain with New Zealand and Belgium fighting it out for Bronze. The Men’s Finals are on Saturday.

1 Australia 3:57.885 (Jack BOBRIDGE, Rohan DENNIS, Alexander EDMONDSON, Michael HEPBURN)
2 Great Britain 3:58.446 (Steven BURKE, Edward CLANCY, Peter KENNAUGH, Geraint THOMAS)

3 New Zealand 4:04.218 (Sam BEWLEY, Aaron GATE, Westley GOUGH, Marc RYAN)
4 Belgium 4:06.596 (Gijs VAN HOECKE, Dominique CORNU, Kenny DE KETELE, Jonathan DUFRASNE)

5 Russia 4:06.823
6 Netherlands 4:07.825
7 Colombia 4:08.287
8 LOKOSPHINX 4:08.999
9 Chile 4:10.222
10 Denmark 4:10.783
11 Korea 4:10.795
12 France 4:12.666
13 Ukraine 4:12.763
14 Italy 4:13.247
15 Germany 4:14.280
16 Hong Kong 4:14.731
17 Switzerland 4:15.339

Spain DSQ

 

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