Great Britain claimed the first two golds medals of the European Track Championships in Pruszkow, Poland this evening with victory in both the men and women’s team pursuit. Continuing the successful start to the weekend’s campaign, Britain’s team sprinters then went and added a silver and bronze to the medal haul.
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The male quartet of Ed Clancy, Steven Burke, Andy Tennant and converted sprinter Jason Queally took the first of the titles to be decided when they beat the Russians with a time of 4:00.492.
Although not anywhere near Britain’s world record or the Australian’s time at the Commonwealth Games, they held the lead throughout the final and won by over 3.5 seconds.
“Conditions are just not that fast in here tonight,” said Andy Tennant.
In the women’s event that followed, Britain’s trio of Wendy Houvenaghel, Laura Trott and Katie Colclough put in an even more commanding ride.
Having established a firm lead by the end of the first kilometre, they eventually clocked a time of 3-23.435 for the full 3km to beat their Lithuanian rivals by over 6.5 seconds.
In a closely run race for third place, Germany just edged ahead of Belarus.
With Britain having botched a changeover in the morning’s qualifying, the men’s team sprint trio only had the opportunity to race for bronze in this evening’s session.
As it turned out, Jason Kenny, Chris Hoy and Matt Crampton’s time of 43.968 seconds in the minor final against hosts Poland would have been good enough for gold. In actuality that was won by the Germans with 44.066 seconds.
On paper, having posted the fastest time in qualifying, Victory Pendleton and Jess Varnish might also have taken another British gold in the women’s team sprint. But after the distraction of a false start, they eventually took silver, just over a tenth of a second slower than the French.
“It’s very early season for us,” said a contented Vicky Pendleton. “We’ve all featured on the podium today so you can’t ask more than that, can you? It’s only the Europeans and it’s only November.”
Explaining why the French might have got the edge in the final, Jess Varnish added: “I changed my gear for the second ride and that could be a little bit of the reason. But we both went a tiny bit slower and that adds up.”
Tomorrow sees the individual sprint and the first three events of the omnium take place.
Men’s team pursuit
Gold: Great Britain 4:00.482 beat Russia 4:04.274
Bronze: Netherlands 4:06.049 beat Spain 4:08.099
Women’s team pursuit
Gold: Great Britain 3:23.435 beat Lithuania 3:29.992
Bronze: Germany 3:28.127 beat Belarus 3-28.410
Men’s team sprint
Gold: Germany 44.066 beat France 44.281
Bronze: Great Britain 43.968 beat Poland 44.495
Women’s team sprint
Gold: France 33.478 beat Great Britain 33.586
Bronze: Germany 33.708 beat Netherlands 34.212
Houvenaghel, Colclough and Trott score gold for Britain in the team pursuit
Chris Hoy leads Matt Crampton in the team sprint, where they won bronze
World and now European team sprint champions Germany
Silver for Victoria Pendleton and Jess Varnish in the women’s team sprint
Jason Queally leads the GB team pursuit quartet, setting up a gold medal ride for the squad