Great Britain at world record pace ahead of Olympic team pursuit

Britain's team pursuit squads set blisteringly quick times in final training session

(Andy Jones)
(Image credit: Andy Jones)

Great Britain's team pursuit squads have been hitting world record pace in the final training session before the track events get underway at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Over an effort of one kilometre with a standing start on Wednesday afternoon, the men's team pursuit squad of Ed Clancy, Owain Doull, Steven Burke and Sir Bradley Wiggins were clocking laps of approximately 13.9 seconds.

Such a schedule would put them on course to set a four kilometre time of around 3-48, three seconds under the current world record of 3-51.659 set in the final of the London Olympic Games four years ago.

The men's team reportedly unofficially broke the world record in training in Newport, Wales, shortly before flying to Rio.

Meanwhile Great Britain's women's team pursuit squad of Laura Trott, Katie Archibald, Elinor Barker and Joanna Rowsell clocked lap times of 15.5 seconds over two kilometres from a standing start in the same track session.

Extrapolating that schedule would give them a four kilometre time of 4-12.5, just over a second faster than the world record or 4-13.683 set by the Australian pursuit team at the world championships in Paris in February 2015.

However current world champions USA were also clocking similar splits on the boards in Rio, suggesting that the fight for the gold medal in Brazil will go right down to the wire.

Australia, fourth fastest in the worlds in London but silver medallists on the same track four years ago, crashed heavily in training on Monday with Melissa Hoskins being taken to hospital.

Dust from the recent building work on the velodrome, which was only just completed in time for the Games, was reported by riders during the weeks preceeding the competition, however this is not thought to have caused the crash.

Builders were still sticking panels to the interior of the velodrome less than 24 hours ahead of competition.

Riders have praised the track and noted the fast bends, according to organisers. However according to Eurosport, German sprinter Rene Enders called the new track "not very fast at all" while his teammate Roger Kluge said the boards felt "sticky."

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Richard Abraham is an award-winning writer, based in New Zealand. He has reported from major sporting events including the Tour de France and Olympic Games, and is also a part-time travel guide who has delivered luxury cycle tours and events across Europe. In 2019 he was awarded Writer of the Year at the PPA Awards.