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Great Britain tops medal count at track Worlds

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Great Britain's Rebecca James smiles on the podium following her keirin victory

Great Britain's Rebecca James smiles on the podium following her keirin victory
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Laura Trott (Great Britain) earned silver in the omnium world championship in Minsk.

Laura Trott (Great Britain) earned silver in the omnium world championship in Minsk.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Women's sprint world championship podium (L-R): Kristina Vogel (Germany), 2nd: Rebecca James (Great Britain), 1st; Wai Sze Lee (Hong Kong, China), 3rd

Women's sprint world championship podium (L-R): Kristina Vogel (Germany), 2nd: Rebecca James (Great Britain), 1st; Wai Sze Lee (Hong Kong, China), 3rd
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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2013 keirin world champion Jason Kenny (Great Britain)

2013 keirin world champion Jason Kenny (Great Britain)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Simon Yates (Great Britain) en route to gold in the points race world championship.

Simon Yates (Great Britain) en route to gold in the points race world championship.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Great Britain would earn the silver medal in the men's 4000m team pursuit in Minsk.

Great Britain would earn the silver medal in the men's 4000m team pursuit in Minsk.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Women's team sprint world championship podium (L-R): China, 2nd; Germany, 1st; Great Britain, 3rd

Women's team sprint world championship podium (L-R): China, 2nd; Germany, 1st; Great Britain, 3rd
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Women's 500m TT world championship podium (L-R): Miriam Welte (Germany), 2nd; Lee Wai Sze (Hong Kong, China), 1st; Rebecca James (Great Britain), 3rd

Women's 500m TT world championship podium (L-R): Miriam Welte (Germany), 2nd; Lee Wai Sze (Hong Kong, China), 1st; Rebecca James (Great Britain), 3rd
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Great Britain on their gold medal winning ride in the women's 3000m team pursuit.

Great Britain on their gold medal winning ride in the women's 3000m team pursuit.
(Image credit: AFP)
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Rebecca James (Great Britain) wins the keirin final

Rebecca James (Great Britain) wins the keirin final
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

The 2013 UCI Track World Championships in Minsk, Belarus signaled the start of the next four-year Olympiad cycle with Great Britain once again showing its strength on the boards. The track powerhouse earned the most medals over the five days of racing: nine in total from the men's and women's teams, including five world titles. Germany and Australia each earned eight medals with Germany taking three gold, three silver and two bronze while Australia won two gold, two silver and four bronze medals.

Performance director Dave Brailsford, in an interview with British Cycling prior to Worlds, described the Minsk world championships as "the first step toward Rio 2016" and additionally stated that the line-up in Minsk will display "a changing of the guard within the team".

Leading the way for Great Britain was 21-year-old Rebecca James who became the nation's first rider to win four medals at single world championship. James became a double world champion, winning both the keirin and individual sprint, plus earned bronze in both the 500m time trial and team sprint, where she partnered with 19-year-old Victoria Williamson.

"I was in so much pain, but I just pushed and pushed and I finished. And I finished in the front," said James after winning keirin gold on Sunday to close out her world championships, equaling her sprint and keirin double world championship earned in the junior ranks in 2009. James also became the first British woman since Victoria Pendleton in 2007 to win both elite-level individual sprint and keirin world titles at a single championship.

Two additional medals were earned by British women including gold in the team pursuit with Elinor Barker, Dani King and Laura Trott as well as silver in the omnium for Trott, the 2012 Olympic omnium champion.

Each of the five women Great Britain sent to track Worlds earned at least one medal, and with ages ranging from 18 (Barker) to 22 (King), the future looks bright in the long view to the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Great Britain's men's team accounted for three medals in Minsk: two golds and one silver. Jason Kenny, gold medalist in the individual and team sprint at the 2012 London Games and the 2011 individual sprint world champion, won the first keirin world championship of his career.

The nation's endurance riders earned the other medals with 20-year-old Simon Yates winning the points race world championship, the first for Great Britain since Yates's coach Chris Newton claimed the world title in 2002, while the team pursuit squad of Steven Burke, Edward Clancy, Samuel Harrison and Andrew Tennant earned silver behind rival nation Australia. Burke, Clancy and Tennant were all part of the squad which won team pursuit gold in 2012, but were unable to defend their title in Minsk.

"We didn’t have it as a unit and we’ve got things to work on," Tennant told British Cycling. "There’s bright prospects coming up and snapping at our heels so that’s going to push everyone forward."