Olympic team pursuit champions settle for silver at Worlds

20 February 2013 / 18:58

Great Britain's men's team pursuit squad settled for silver as old rivals Australia gained revenge for their 2012 disappointments at the track cycling World Championships in Minsk.

The Olympic champions fielded just two members of the quartet that won gold in London and at last year's World Championships - Ed Clancy and Steven Burke joined by Sam Harrison and Andy Tennant.

But after qualifying second they were behind throughout the final, finishing over four seconds slower than Australia in 4:00.967, while Denmark overcame Spain to claim bronze.

"Of course we'd rather win than lose but perhaps it's their turn after what we did to them at the Worlds and Olympics last year," said two-time Olympic champion Clancy.

"This is the first stage of the Olympic cycle and you have to remember that British Cycling is an Olympic programme. This is just part of the process and we've got a lot of young faces in the team. 

"On a positive note we did a lot better here than we did at the last World Championships that followed an Olympics."

Becky James produced a brilliant ride as she partnered teenager Vicky Williamson to bronze in the women's team sprint.

James, a double European junior champion when she last competed in Minsk four years ago, is due a busy weekend in the absence of the injured Jess Varnish and retired Victoria Pendleton.

And the 21-year old sprinter is clearly in top form, as Germany retained the title they won in Melbourne, edging out China in a repeat of last year's Olympic final.

"I'm in the best form but this medal is still so unexpected, I'm shocked really, totally gobsmacked," said James, who saw her Olympic dreams ruined by an untimely bout of appendicitis.

"We came in with no expectations because we're a new line-up but I knew my form was coming through and to get on that podium is so encouraging.

"I've got plenty of events to come and after all the things that went wrong last year, it's just great that things are going right now.

"My training has been so consistent and that's the simple reason for my form. I've not raced this well since the Commonwealth Games in Delhi."

Elsewhere, British team newcomer Kian Emadi just missed out on a medal in the 1km time trial, an event that six-time Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy once dominated.

Emadi's time of 1.01.756 just over three tenths of a second slower than bronze medallist Joachim Eilers, while France's Francois Pervis took gold ahead of Kiwi Simon Van Velthooven.

© Sportsbeat 2013