Great Britain will not compete for a medal in the women’s Team Pursuit at the World Track Championships in Hong Kong after posting the fifth fastest time in round one. Defending champions, the United States, will compete against Australia in the gold medal stand-off, while a strong Italy will ride against New Zealand for the bronze.
For a team that is made up of entirely of riders under the age of 23, the result was a promising one.
“We’ve had some pretty good riders, and we did a lot faster than we did in Manchester so I think that we can be happy with that,” said the team’s most experienced rider Elinor Barker. “It’s a very young team, and the level is so much higher than I ever thought it would be, technically and physically. Maybe we’ll watch it back and pick little bits from the outside, but from inside the line it felt pretty good.”
Following the retirement of Joanna Rowsell-Shand and Laura Trott taking some time out, the Olympic Champions, Great Britain went into this World Championships with a very young side. The 22-year-old, Barker, who secured a silver medal in the scratch race on day one, is the only member of the Olympic Games gold medal-winning line-up that has featured in Hong Kong. Katie Archibald is competing at the Worlds, but the Scottish rider is taking part in the Omnium and the Individual Pursuit.
Alongside Barker was Manon Lloyd, who was part of the under 23 and elite team pursuit line-ups at the European Championships, European Madison silver medallists Emily Kay and Emily Nelson, and 18-year-old Eleanor Dickinson. Barker did not ride the qualifiers but came replaced Kay to give the team a bit more experience and power for round one.
Great Britain posted the fifth quickest time in qualifying and went up against Poland in heat two of round one. They had the considerable bettering of Poland, beating them by almost 12 seconds, but had a tense wait to see what the other teams would do. With the winners of heats three and four going straight into the gold medal contest, they were relying on their time of 4:21.681 to get them through.
In the end, the British squad was 1.5 seconds off the next fastest squad, New Zealand. Despite missing the medal contests, the youthful team was happy with the progress they have made in recent months.
The men's team, consisting of Steven Burke, Oliver Wood, Kian Emadi and Mark Stewart, made it to the bronze medal competition but was beaten by Italy by more than a second.