If there were any doubts over whether or not the British cyclists could improve on their performances at the world championships in March, Steven Burke blew them away.
Having just watched his compatriots post a new world?s best for the Team Sprint, the 20 year old from Burnley stepped up on to the Olympic track and set a stunning qualifying time of 4-22.260 minutes, easily catching the Colombian Carlos Alzate in the process.
The ride saw him qualify fifth fastest in the individual pursuit; ahead of former world champion Bradley McGee and Dutchman Jenning Huizenga who finished second at the worlds this year.
Amazingly Burke was only told he would be riding the pursuit the previous day, had done no specific training for his ride and posted a personal best. By nine seconds!
It was an incredible performance and one that left him grinning from ear to ear. ?I just gave it everything really, the main thing was to get a PB and I?ve done that,? he said afterwards. ?I always knew I was going to beat it but I didn?t think I?d be that fast.?
Burke is down to ride the first round of the team pursuit on Sunday and tonight was simply filling the second spot that the British team had qualified. The only specific training he had done for the individual event was one standing start effort this morning. ?I wasn?t expecting to get a second ride. I might as well go for it and see what happens. At the end of the day I?m here to perform,? he said.
?I didn?t expect to go so well. If I ride the team pursuit I?ll obviously be more nervous then because there?s a lot more at stake and I?ll be expected to do a world class ride,? he said, clearing not realising that that was exactly what he?d just done.
Both Burke and Bradley Wiggins will ride their first round races tomorrow. Burke will take on Volodymyr Dyudya of the Ukraine while Wiggins will take on Alexander Serov.
NB: Bradley Wiggins qualified fastest in the Individual Pursuit posting a new Olympic Record and new PB in the process. Full report and results to come…
Live coverage of:Friday at the Laoshan velodrome
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