The recently-crowned European champion quartet of Katie Archibald, Elinor Barker, Neah Evans and Ellie Dickinson lit up the opening night of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Glasgow with a stunning gold in the Team Pursuit.
A time of 4:12.244 represented an outstanding return on a slick track – the fastest in this Olympic cycle and the fourth-quickest of all time – they shaved more than three seconds off their winning time from Apeldoorn back in October.
And Archibald in particular was pleased with the tangible progress as she celebrated gold on home boards.
“We’re very happy,” she said.
“A lot of the conversations leading into an event like this are on whether you want to focus on a result or a process and we’re focusing on a process, so to come away with a result like this, we’re very happy.
“We went in with a plan that scared us a bit. We wanted to front-end it, which is what you see the best nations in the world do, so to challenge ourselves and come off with a win, it feels good.”
Barker added: “It’s a really quick time, above our expectations – it’s nice when that happens!"
The men were unable to follow suit, though, as they were beaten by France in the bronze medal race.
The sprint trio of Ryan Owens, Jack Carlin and Joe Truman – who was a late change in place of Jason Kenny – fared better, however, as they took a silver medal.
Missing out on the gold as they were downed by world champions Netherlands, the budding youngsters will nevertheless be buoyed by a solid showing against the world’s best.
Elsewhere, the women’s sprint duo of Milly Tanner and Lauren Bate were beaten by China in the opening round of racing.
Competition continues in Glasgow tomorrow, with men’s Madison and women’s Omnium set to dominate proceedings.
Image credit: SWpix