British team pursuit quartet world record Olympics 2008

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The British team pursuit squad smashed their own world record tonight, setting a new mark of 3-55.205 minutes as they punched their way in to the gold medal final tomorrow night.

If they repeat that ride, or better it, it will surely bring gold number six to the British cyclists, a unthinkable achievement before this competition began, even by their very own high standards. The quartet of Ed Clancy, Geraint Thomas, Paul Manning and Bradley Wiggins got on the track knowing they had to set a fast time as at long long last the other nations had come out and put some pressure on them.

In the morning's qualifying round New Zealand were the only other team other than the Brits to beat the four minute mark, and it looked as if the event was going to turn in to a foregone conclusion. But then the Danes, the team that pushed the Brits to their world record in Manchester, got up and posted a time of 3-56.831 minutes.

When New Zealand did a 3-57.536 there was a little bit of pressure landing on the Brits, but it looks like that's exactly what they needed. They had their opponents Russia in sight within two kilometres, as the record was always on.

Wiggins swung up with a little under a kilometre to go but the remaining three had it all under control as they hit that magic number of 3-55, one they've had as a target since the Athens Games. They nearly bypassed the number altogether and went straight to 3-54, a figure that's easily in reach considering it wasn't particularly warm inside the Laoshan velodrome and the track's tight bankings aren't best suited to pursuiting.

Great Britain will ride for gold against the Danes tomorrow afternoon, while they're old foes Australia will only ride for gold after losing their form in the last lap of their ride to post 3-58.633. THeirs was the slowest time, making this the first time that all four finalists rode under the four minute mark in one competition.

Team pursuit world record Olympics 2008

The flying British quartet stop the clock a whole second faster than their previous best. They could go even faster tomorrow night if the conditions are right. photo: Graham Watson

Team pursuit world record Olympics 2008

Nothing much to say about this one, just thought you'd like to see this cracking picture. Photo: Graham Watson

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