British quartet Laura Trott, Katie Archibald, Ciara Horne and Elinor Barker set the fastest qualifying time in the women’s team pursuit on the opening night of the UCI Track World Cup round one in Guadalajara, Mexico, on Friday.
The British team were head and shoulders above the opposition, putting in a qualification time over six seconds quicker than the best of the rest – New Zealand. Even more impressive given the absence of GB stalwart Joanna Rowsell, who sits out the round, and is replaced by Horne.
Rather than facing New Zealand in the gold medal final straight away, the World Cup team pursuit schedule now follows that of the Olympic Games, so GB will ride against the fourth-fastest qualifiers, China. New Zealand will ride against third-fastest qualifiers Canada to fight for their place in the final on Saturday.
The British men also fared well in the team pursuit, qualifying a close second quickest behind long-term rivals Australia. With Ed Clancy sitting out of the qualifying round, it was down to Jonathan Dibben, Steven Burke, Andy Tennant and Mark Christian to set a mark. They stopped the clock at 3-57.661, half a second off Australia’s time of 3-57.132.
GB will now ride against the Netherlands in the first round, with Australia taking on fourth-fastest qualifiers, Switzerland.
In the team sprint competitions, Britain’s trio of Jason Kenny, Philip Hindes and Callum Skinner qualified second fastest behind the strong German squad comprising Stefan Botticher, Joachim Eilers and Robert Forstemann. They will now face each other in the final.
Britain’s team sprint duo of Jess Varnish and Dani Khan failed to make it through qualification, posting the ninth-fastest time of the evening. Germany’s powerhouse combination of Kristina Vogel and Miriam Welte were quickest ahead of Australia’s Kaarle McCulloch and Stephanie Morton to face each other in the final.
In addition to team pursuit duties, Archibald – rather than Olympic champion Trott – will contest the women’s omnium opening rounds on Saturday, with Dibben in the men’s event.
Great Britain's Joanna Rowsell withdraws from the first round in Guadalajara in preparation for the London round of the series.
Laura Trott, Marianne Vos, Ben Swift and Alex Dowsett all in action in London velodrome at Revolution Series opener