By Vern Pitt
In qualifying at the Track Cycling World Championships in Berlin on Wednesday the Danish team smashed the previous record of 3-48.012, set by Australia in February last year, with a 3-46.579. They then lowered it further to 3-46.203 later that day.
In the final on Thursday they lowered it still further to 3-44.672, beating a New Zealand quartet to the rainbow jerseys in the process.
Danish rider Frederik Rodenberg said: “We knew that we had to break the world record to to win here but to do a 3-44, it's just madness to be honest. We never dreamed about this."
When asked what he thought they would need to ride in Tokyo to claim Olympic gold he said: “I think it's going to be around 3-42 to win. We have a lot of more gains to make. And we know that Australia, New Zealand, Italy and Great Britain have too so you have to go to be a lot faster than this [today].”
Rodenberg pointed in part to equipment upgrades it has on the way, the team was not wearing its Tokyo skinsuits in Berlin nor did they have their most aerodynamic bikes.
He added: “Equipment wise we have a lot of things to gain. But we also have a guy who was injured right now, who is probably the strongest guy in our whole team. So if he comes back full strength, it will be even better.”
As it was they looked extremely strong in their current configuration. Rodenberg pulled himself to pieces on the front of the team in the final kilometre and after the ride he was vomiting at the side of the track before collapsing on the floor from the effort.
“It was awful. Awful,” he said. “At one and a half laps to go I just wanted to go off but I knew I had to keep going. I could hear my team-mates shouting to me, it was awful but worth it.”
The Danish team have been a dominant force in team pursuit this track season winning both Track World cups they attended and the European Championships posting five times under the magic 3-50.0 in the process.
Rodenberg said the “whole way of doing team pursuit” had changed this season.
“That is probably the biggest change,” he said, remaining somewhat coy on the details before adding: “We have gotten some new guys in behind the scenes who have helped us a lot in positioning equipment and all that. So we have a lot more to gain.”
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