Australia came within just a quarter of a second of beating Great Britain’s men’s team pursuit world record during qualifying at the 2017 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Hong Kong on Wednesday.
The Australian quartet of Sam Welsford, Cameron Meyer, Kelland O’Brien and Alexander Porter clocked a blistering 3-50.577 to complete the four kilometres in qualifying for the team pursuit.
GB currently holds the world record, set during the Rio Olympic Games of 3-50.265. Prior to Rio, the world record stood at 3-51.659, posted by GB in the London 2012 Olympics.
In qualifying fastest, the Australian team caught the British quartet of Steven Burke, Kian Emadi, Andy Tennant and Oliver Wood, who finished with a time of 3-58.936 to qualify fifth fastest.
The top seven qualifying teams in Hong Kong all went under the magic four-minute barrier.
Any TP time under four minutes used to be considered quick. Until 2000, the world record stood at 4-00.830.
Australia will now ride against France in the first round of the men’s TP later on Wednesday, with GB riding against Switzerland.
In the women’s TP, the USA quartet of Kelly Catlin, Chloe Dygert, Kimberly Geist and Jennifer Valente were the fastest qualifiers with 4-17.722. GB posted the fifth fastest time, with 4-21.548 – well below the world record time of 4-10.236 set by GB in Rio.
USA will ride against Italy in their first round, with GB facing Poland.
The 2017 UCI Track Cycling World Championships run from Wednesday, April 12, to Sunday, April 16.