Tokyo 2020: 'Germany took everyone by surprise,' says Laura Kenny after team pursuit silver medal

The team now looks ahead to the Paris 2024 Games in three years time

Katie Archibald, Neah Evans, Laura Kenny and Josie Knight on the podium with their silver medals at Tokyo 2020
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The British women were not able to defend their team pursuit title for a third Olympic Games in a row at Tokyo 2020, as they lost out to a flying German team that broke the world record three times.

Katie Archibald, Neah Evans, Laura Kenny, Josie Knight, and Elinor Barker in the qualifiers put in a great ride to take silver and a fast time, but the Germans were too strong.

The team took heart from their performance and chose to look at the positives and ahead to the next Olympics in three years time at Paris 2024.

>>> Tokyo 2020 Olympics track day two: More records tumble, another shock crash and two silvers for Team GB

Katie Archibald said after the race: "We are proud, the pandemic may have taken away our race opportunities but we never lost our job as team pursuiters."

The rider from Milngavie in Scotland was keen to thank all who have supported them over the past year.

"We've been supported by British Cycling, supported by UK Sport, supported by The National Lottery players all through the pandemic, and we've pulled it through to a silver medal, second-best in the world. We've got three years [until Paris 2024] to try again."

Laura Kenny came into the team after the qualifiers, replacing Elinor Barker. With this silver medal, Kenny now moves joint second in the list of the most successful British female athletes, just one medal behind horse rider Charlotte Dujardin who is on six.

This is what the five-time Olympic medalist had to say: "I think Germany took everyone by surprise. They were the quickest at World [Championships], but they didn't get it right, we knew they were going to go fast, maybe just not that fast."

For Evans and Knight, it is their first time on the podium at an Olympic Games and they were very pleased they were able to soak it all up, but still looking forward to Paris 2024.

"It's really special. Obviously, we were the defending champions, we have the reputation but there are so many strong nations fighting," said Evans. 

With Knight finally adding: "Last year I didn't expect to be here so to be on the start line with these girls is incredible."

The riders will now look towards their other events at the Games with some riding as soon as tomorrow with the first-ever women's Madison at the Olympic Games.

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.