Ruthless Aussies edge out Britain to net World gold
Great Britain were pipped to the men's team pursuit Track Cycling World Championships title by old enemies Australia in Copenhagen yesterday.
Jason Queally watched on from the British team pit as Ed Clancy, Steven Burke, Andy Tennant and Ben Swift clocked three minutes 55.806 seconds in the four kilometres, four-man event in qualification at the Ballerup Super Arena.
Britain were trailing throughout but narrowed the gap in the final kilometre, only for Australia's quartet of Cameron Meyer, Jack Bobridge, Rohan Dennis and Michael Hepburn to win by 0.152secs.
It was Australia's fifth title of the championships, while Sir Chris Hoy's men's keirin win remains Britain's solitary gold.
Hoy won his 10th world title on Thursday and will begin his bid for an 11th today, but his predecessor as Olympic one-kilometre time-trial champion was a spectator in the men's team pursuit.
Queally, who won his gold at Sydney 2000, is at his first World Championships since 2006 and was making his return to the global stage after reinventing himself from sprint cyclist to endurance racer.
Queally, who will be 40 in May and 42 come London 2012, was the reserve rider and Britain opted to stick with the quartet which set the fastest men's team sprint qualifying time in history earlier in the day.
Even in the absence of Beijing Olympic champions Bradley Wiggins and Geraint Thomas, who are concentrating on their road careers with Team Sky, and the now retired Paul Manning, Britain were flying.
Clancy, Burke, Tennant and Swift clocked 3mins 56.869secs this afternoon and went quicker in the final, only to be beaten into silver.
Meyer provided fresh legs for Australia as they finished in 3:55.654 as two teams in the same race rode beneath 3:56 for the first time.
Clancy was philosophical in defeat and paid tribute to the Australia team.
“As a team we're used to winning,” said Clancy.
“We're GB and people expect us to win. Anything other than a win always seems a bit of a disappointment.
“We thought a (three minutes) 56, 57 would win on this track and normally it would.
“We knew the Aussies are coming strong at the moment, they've got a good bunch of young lads and I guess they just did us on the day.”