Great Britain look strong in team pursuit qualifying

18 February 2015 / 21:16

Great Britain are well placed to continue their proud history of team pursuit medals at the track cycling World Championships in Paris.

The women's quartet of Laura Trott, Elinor Barker, Katie Archibald and Joanna Rowsell are aiming for their fifth straight world title at the National Velodrome Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines.

And they put in a solid first outing in the French capital, clocking 4:18.207 minutes to finish second in qualifying behind Australia, the first time they've been beaten in four years.

It leaves them facing Canada on Thursday, with the winners going through to the gold medal ride later in the day.

Great Britain's men's team will face Germany for a place in their final after they also placed second on the time sheets, clocking 3:57.716.

Andy Tennant, Ed Clancy, Owain Doull and Steven Burke – the latter marking his return from a broken collarbone – were second only to New Zealand, with defending champions Australia fading badly to finish in fifth.

However, Great Britain's sprinters failed to impose themselves on the medal mix.

Jason Kenny and Philip Hindes, who won Olympic gold with Sir Chris Hoy three years ago, were joined by Callum Skinner in the men's team sprint qualifiers.

Rising star Skinner won four national titles last year but together the trio were never on the pace, ranking eighth fastest overall with only the top four teams progressing to the medal races.

Jess Varnish and Victoria Williamson also struggled in the women's team sprint in the absence of two-time world champion Becky James.

James has struggled with injuries since her breakthrough in Minsk two years ago and despite being initially named in the squad for Paris, withdrew last week after suffering a setback in her recovery from a serious knee injury.

Varnish and Williamson have both medalled in the event at previous Worlds with James.

However, together they struggled to make an impact, ranking only eighth fastest in qualifying in a time of 33.583, which was well over half a second off securing a place in the medal races.

China's Gong Jinjie Gong and Zhong Tianshi won the women's team sprint in a new world record while Russia and Australia completed the podium.

New Zealand's Ed Dawkins, Ethan Mitchell and Sam Webster thought they'd defended their world title to defeat against hosts France in the men's team sprint final, only to be relegated to silver for a racing infringement. World record holders Germany beat Russia to win the bronze.

Elsewhere, Germany's Stephanie Pohl won the women's points race, to add to world to her European title, edging out Japan's Minami Uwano and the USA's Kimberly Geist.

© Sportsbeat 2015