It was a night of near misses for the British team in Poland on Wednesday as the most dominant team in world sport were pegged back by the other nations.
The team that has crushed all in their path for the last two years finished day one with two silver medals and two bronze, a fantastic start but only if not compared to the last two year?s world championships.
In both 2007 and 2008 the British team were racing ahead with the gold medals after the first day, but not in Poland. Competing at the end of a four year Olympic cycle, and without many of their Olympic champions, the Brits remain a force to be reckoned with, even if they haven’t yet won a gold.
Silver medals came courtesy Wendy Houvenaghel in the women?s individual pursuit and Jamie Staff, Jason Kenny and Matt Crampton in the team sprint, while Chris Newton and Victoria Pendleton won bronze in the points race and 500m time trial respectively.
The medals showed that the British team are competitive across the board, even if they aren?t at the peak of their condition.
There will surely be some golds coming GB?s way though. Jason Kenny posted one of the fastest split times in the team sprint competition and Victoria Pendleton took her first worlds medal in the 500m time trial.
She may have been almost a second down on Simona Krupeckaite?s new world record, but she was more than pleased with bronze, “realistically I thought the best I was going to do was get a bronze medal,” she said. “I didn?t necessarily think those two people would have been in front of me, but I thought the best possible scenario was a bronze medal and I can?t believe I actually did it.”
“I might have said tongue in cheek, ?four golds, just for the sake of it. I knew I wanted to go for four events, I always have done, but considering the year I?ve had, and considering I put the tri bars down for three years I?m really pleased with that.”
Pendleton?s next event will be the women?s team sprint on Thursday where she teams up with BMX world champion Shanaze Reade. The pair are yet to be beaten in the event and have won the world title on each of the two occasions it has been run.
On Saturday Pendleton will defend her sprint title while Sunday sees her compete in the keirin. It?s a tough schedule, and one that she hasn?t attempted before, but the Olympic champ seems more relaxed than previous years.
In Manchester last year she avoided interviews until the end of the whole competition, whereas this week, without the worry of the Olympics baring down on her, she is more unperturbed.
If the Brits are to go on and win some golds, that?s exactly the quality they need in the rider that is the virtual team leader this week.
– At the end of the first day, Australia, Lithuania, France and New Zealand each had one gold medal.
– Great Britain lead the ‘rank by total’ with four medals, Australia and Lithuania both had two each.
– Germany and Denmark were the other two medal winning nations.
2009 UCI TRACK CYCLING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
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Men’s team sprint: France beat Britain
Men’s Points Race: Newton gets bronze
Women’s individual pursuit: Houvenaghel beaten to silver
500m TT: World record for Krupeckaite, bronze for Pendleton
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Full results from the 2008 track worlds
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