Great Britain will face Denmark in a semi-final race of the men's Olympic team pursuit after breaking the world record with a time of 3:52.499 in qualifying. The previous world record of 3:53.295 was set in Melbourne earlier this year by the British team.
Starting out conservatively, the same four riders from Melbourne of Edward Clancy, Geraint Thomas, Steven Burke and Peter Kennaugh pulled out a slight advantage over the initial leaders New Zealand, only putting in less than a second per kilo on the Kiwis. However as the home crowd began to raise the velodrome roof the foursome began to pull clear putting almost two seconds per kilo into the New Zealanders in the second half. Australia eventually slotted into second with a time of 3:55.694.
"We've you've got four blokes rattling around a track that quick there's always things that you'll improve on," said Great Britain pursuit coach Dan Hunt.
"We just came off it a touch in the last lap and a half. We just need to look at why but the analysts are on it and we'll have that information in around half an hour. It was hard control because that's what team pursuiting needs. If you go raggy you go slow so fast is smooth, smooth is fast. We went out to ride fast but smooth. We could have gone faster in the opening kilo but we'd have come off. We pitched it about right."
The British had been locked away in a training camp prior to the Games and according to Hunt they had posted times pointing to a world record in their training sessions.
"We did about that in training. Maybe a little quicker but we didn't go right over four kilometres. We know that it was on but the key thing is was that that's just one ride out of three. All we've done is state our intent. I think we can go quicker."
Asked if the five man squad, with Andrew Tennant a possible substitute for the match up with Denmark – can ride a 3:50 time Hunt added: "We're still quite a way from that but we'll certainly have a good run at it."
World records will have to play second fiddle as Great Britain hunts for further medals. The Australians are favourites to progress from their match up with New Zealand and assuming Great Britain can hold the healthy buffer they posted against the Danes, Hunt expects an exciting final between the two track foes.
Asked about Australia's qualifying time, Hunt said: "I don't know what I expected really. They've come out here and qualified in a 55 which is a good qualifying time. It's put them where they need to be. They're always dangerous when they're in the back straight and we won't give them an inch from here on in. There's no complacency or that type of thing, we're just going to go out and attack them in what could be the final."
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Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at Cyclingnews.com between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.