Olympic Games: Mixed night for Australia's team pursuit squads

Both teams into medal rounds after qualifying in third place

Great Britain came out swinging in the team pursuit qualifying on day 1 of the track cycling at the Olympic Games to assert their status as favourites to defend the gold medals they won in 2012. The Australian men lost the final to the Great Britain squad in London while the women's squad lost the bronze medal final to Canada.

While both squads aimed for faster times in qualifying, they are through to the medal rounds with their next ride to decide the colour of medal they will compete for.

"The boys would have liked to have gone a bit quicker than that, that's a little below what we're capable of," said Team Leader Kevin Tabotta of the 3:55.606 ride which placed the team in third place behind Great Britain and Denmark. "We fully expected the English (team) would come out and really go after a time today.

"But tomorrow is another day and we're fully expecting to come out in the second round versus Denmark and put something down that can put us into the final."

The men will be back on the track Friday in its bid for gold.

After the training ride crash which sent Mel Hoskins to hospital, the women's team pursuit squad recovered for Thursday's qualifying to also post the third quickest time with 4:19.059. The quarter of Annette Edmondson, Amy Cure, Georgia Baker and Hoskins were half a second quicker then Canada but well off Great Britain's time of 4:13.260.

"We rode well and all the girls have really carried me. I was glad I had the opportunity to line up at the start with my best friends," Hoskins said. "Everyone rallied, we're in the hunt.

"It tickled a little bit, I am not going to lie," Hoskins added. "It probably wasn't the smoothest TP I have ever done for myself individually. 

"Everyone says 'it's the Olympics, you want to rise to the occasion' and that right there was a great example of how strong Aussies can be."

Hoskins credited her teammates for getting on her track after the high speed crash that saw Hoskins having to use a crutch while walking. 

"The last four days are probably the hardest four days we have had in the last four years," said Hoskins. "Four days ago I was staring down the barrel of not even riding in the Olympics after training for it for four years, I am very lucky that I have four girls who are so mentally tough.

"But it was very motivating to wake up every day, although I was feeling like I had been hit by a truck, and have four girls out in the lounge room picking me up."

The women's team now have two days off before their ride against the USA for a place in the gold medal final with Hoskins adding the extra day of rest will be highly beneficial

"Originally when we saw the program, we were actually quite annoyed about the day's break," Hoskins said. "But after Monday we are actually pretty glad we have an extra day to try and recover and get the bruises down and have some ice baths.

"It is not going to be an easy two days, but full credit to these girls I am riding with, they are absolutely fantastic. I have never been so privileged to ride with a group of girls who can be so mentally tough and positive."

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