Great Britain had to settle for silver in the men’s team pursuit on the second day of the UCI Track World Championships as the Australian quartet of Alex Porter, Samuel Welsford, Leigh Howard and Kelland O’Brien broke their own world record.
The Australians set a time of 3mins 48.012secs, almost two seconds fewer than the mark they set at the Commonwealth Games last year. Britain’s Ed Clancy, Kian Emadi, Ethan Hayter and Great Ayton’s Charlie Tanfield turned in a highly respectable time of 3:50.81, but trailed Australia throughout.
Barnsley-born three-time Olympic champion Clancy admitted Britain had no answers to Australia on the day, but promised there was more to come as attention turns to Toyko next year.
“We actually rode pretty well, we were only a couple of tenths shy of what we did in Rio with our full Olympic package, but that’s just an indication of how good the Australian ride was,” he said.
“You’re only going to get our best performance at an Olympics for a number of reasons. We can’t be complacent, we have to stay close and keep pushing them.
“We’re all disappointed to have given up our world title, but if we can keep moving forward like we are doing then we can give them a run at the big one.”
Britain’s quartet of Katie Archibald, Elinor Barker, Ellie Dickinson and Laura Kenny also had to settle for women’s team pursuit silver, but their race against Australia was much closer by the finish.
The Australian quartet of Ashlee Ankudinoff, Georgia Baker, Amy Cure and Annette Edmondson had pulled almost a second clear midway through, but they split into the final two laps and nearly blew it.
Another half a lap and Britain would likely have won, but instead Australia hung on by two tenths of a second.
As she did in Wednesday’s qualifying, Kenny peeled off the group with around one kilometre to go, and after the race the four-time Olympic champion sought to take the blame.
“I feel I’ve let the girls down, I haven’t had the best legs the last couple of days and I feel a lot of responsibility for the times we’ve been doing,” she said. “I didn’t pull nearly the turn lengths I was doing at home so I’m disappointed for that. As a team we rode well, there are still things we can improve on, but it’s just disappointing on the day.”
Katy Marchant suffered disappointment as she could go no further than the last 16 in the individual sprint.
The 26-year-old had won bronze in the event at the Rio Olympics.