Great Britain were put under serious pressure in the gold medal final against Australia in the men’s team pursuit at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on Friday.
Ed Clancy wobbled slightly as he left the start gate at the start of the crucial final run, but soon got up to speed as Sir Bradley Wiggins, Steve Burke and Owain Doull slotted in behind him.
In contrast, Australia put in a fast start and built up a lead over GB in the opening two kilometres of the four-kilometre race.
Australia benefited from a change of personnel, as Jack Bobridge joined Michael Hepburn, Alexander Edmondson and Sam Welsford for the final. GB had no fifth man to draft in as Mark Cavendish focuses on the omnium.
However, the pace was took hot for the Australian team as first they lost a man and then a gap appeared to the last rider of the remaining trio. Great Britain seized the opportunity to claw back time, until they too lost a man and appeared to struggle not to break up in the final two laps.
Britain held it together to not only beat Australia, but also break their own world record set earlier in the evening with a time of three minutes and 50.265 seconds to their rival’s 3-51.008.
The gold medal for GB means that Wiggins is now Britain’s most decorated Olympian of all time, with eight medals. Clancy also adds one more gold to his collection, having been part of GB’s winning team in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
Having given a less than well-drilled performance in the first round, Denmark made amends in the ride off for bronze by beating New Zealand by some margin.
Rio 2016 Olympic Games, men’s team pursuit finals
1. Great Britain 3:50.265
2. Australia 3:51.008
3. Denmark 3:53.789
4. New Zealand 3:56.753