Horror crash puts Great Britain men's team pursuit squad out of Worlds in qualifying

Charlie Tanfield's injuries meant he was unable to re-start the qualifying run

Charlie Tanfield after his crash at world championships 2023
(Image credit: Getty)

The Great Britain men’s team pursuit squad suffered a horrific crash during their qualifying run at the Glasgow World Championships on Thursday morning, and will not defend their title at the event. 

The quartet of Dan Bigham, Ethan Vernon, Ollie Wood and Charlie Tanfield failed to post a time during their opening run, after Tanfield crashed on the final lap inside the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome. 

The 26-year-old, who had been distanced slightly by his team-mates, came down by himself as he powered through the bend onto the home straight. 

Replays of the crash suggested Tanfield clipped the Côte d’Azur - the painted blue line that separates the wooden boards from the track centre - and fell hard onto his left shoulder. He then lay motionless beside the track, where he was treated by a medical team, before he stood up and walked away. 

At the time of the crash, the team had already been reduced to three riders. As times are taken on the third rider across the line, and only two riders finished, the team did not complete their run.

A statement from British Cycling, shared with Cycling Weekly, read: “Tanfield slipped coming out of [the] final corner (no collision) and came off his bike. UCI rules state that if the exact line up can get back on their bikes, they could have a re-start. This was unfortunately not the case so the men's team pursuit are out of the competition."

British Cycling added that Tanfield’s condition was “generally OK”, and that he had been taken to hospital for further treatment. 

Tanfield was also involved in a controversial crash at the delayed Tokyo Olympics in 2021, when he was tagged and brought down by a Danish rider in the closing kilometre of the first round. Great Britain ended up finishing seventh at the Games. 

In Glasgow, the British quartet were pushing for a top-four qualifying time when the crash happened. Denmark qualified first with a time of 3-46.816, just over four seconds off world-record pace. New Zealand, Italy, Australia, France, Canada, Germany and Japan also all progressed to the first round, which takes place on Friday. 

The men's team pursuit final will be held during the evening session on Saturday. 

At last year’s World Championships in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, on the outskirts of Paris, the Brits won gold, stopping the clock at 3-45.829. Speaking to Cycling Weekly after the victory, Bigham said the performance was an “absolute dream”, adding that the team “couldn’t have done a huge amount better.” 

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