Three rides, three world records, and at the end of it all, three Olympic gold medals. The British women’s team pursuit trio dominated their event in London even more so than their male counterparts.
The team of Laura Trott, Dani King and Joanna Rowsell put together three sensational rides through the competition to become the first Olympic champions in this event, and bring the world record down to three minutes, 14.051 seconds. Prior to the London world cup in February this year that record had stood stubbornly at the three minute 19 second mark.
“Words can’t describe how I’m feeling, it’s just an incredible feeling and I don’t think this smile is going to come off my face for a long time,” said Dani King, who wasn’t even riding a bike back in 2005 when London was announced as the Olympic host city.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet, it’s been such an incredible week starting with Lizzie [Armitstead] on Sunday,” said Rowsell. “It’s great to be part of that and keep the golds going.”
This was perhaps the most formidable performance of all the British cyclists who have so far won five gold medals, one silver and a bronze (four wins out of five on the track). They faced the American team of Sarah Hammer, Dotsie Bausch and Jennie Reed in the final who had posted a time of 3-16.8 minutes in their first round ride just an hour before. This significantly closed the gap on the British trio who were light years ahead of everyone else in yesterday’s qualifying round.
But in the final GB were always in front, and even had the Americans in their sights in the final few laps. That and the incredible noise from the crowd spurred them on to set their third world record in three rides.
This trio has in fact broken the world record the last six times they have ridden, dating back to February’s world cup here in London.
“We’ve been working so hard and making gains all the time in training. I just want to thank Paul [Manning] our coach who has been incredible. We’ve had some tough training camps and come together today. It’s been a dream come true.” Said King.
Canada won the bronze, beating Australia in their final
In the morning’s session Jason Kenny set a new Olympic record in the men’s sprint, beating Gregory Bauge (France) by two tenths of a second. Both received a bye in the 1/16 finals that came next, and cruised through their 1/8 finals. If all goes to form they should meet in Monday’s gold medal final.
Kenny’s flying 200m time confirms the Briton is in blistering form, although multiple sprint world champion Bauge is still the man to beat.
Ed Clancy finished day one of the men’s omnium in fourth place on 17 points. Frenchman Bryan Coquard leads on ten after winning the elimination race. Clancy won the opening round, the flying lap, posting a 200m time that would have qualified him fifth in the sprint competition.
Eleventh in the points race dropped him down the standings, but a good ride in the elimination race saw him finish fifth. Several times he used the Laura Trott tactic of hanging off the back before charging down the outside in the final straight to get ahead of the riders stuck at the bottom of the track.
It worked several times, but in the end he sat up and let the four riders left ride off to contest the places. Clancy’s best event, the kilometre time trial is still to come, and he should place well in the individual pursuit, making the scratch race decisive.
Jason Kenny in the sprint
Men’s omnium scratch race
Ed Clancy in the omnium scratch race
Great Britain’s women team pursuiters
Dani King, Joanna Rowsell and Laura Trott come in to the line
King, Trott and Rowsell win gold
Omnium elimination race
London 2012: Live text coverage of cycling events
London 2012: Latest news
London 2012: Team info
London 2012: Event guides
London 2012: Reports
London 2012: Photos
London 2012: Podcasts