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Italy's surprising ride sets up team pursuit semi-final against Great Britain

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Italy's Liam Bertazzo, Italy's Simone Consonni, Italy's Elia Viviani and Italy's Francesco Lamon compete in the Men's Team pursuit qualification during the 2016 Track Cycling World Championships

Italy's Liam Bertazzo, Italy's Simone Consonni, Italy's Elia Viviani and Italy's Francesco Lamon compete in the Men's Team pursuit qualification during the 2016 Track Cycling World Championships
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Italy's Liam Bertazzo, Italy's Simone Consonni, Italy's Elia Viviani and Italy's Francesco Lamon compete in the Men's Team pursuit qualification during the 2016 Track Cycling World Championships

Italy's Liam Bertazzo, Italy's Simone Consonni, Italy's Elia Viviani and Italy's Francesco Lamon compete in the Men's Team pursuit qualification during the 2016 Track Cycling World Championships
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Italy's Liam Bertazzo, Italy's Simone Consonni, Italy's Elia Viviani and Italy's Francesco Lamon compete in the Men's Team pursuit qualification during the 2016 Track Cycling World Championships

Italy's Liam Bertazzo, Italy's Simone Consonni, Italy's Elia Viviani and Italy's Francesco Lamon compete in the Men's Team pursuit qualification during the 2016 Track Cycling World Championships
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Italy's Elia Viviani celebrates after winning the Men's Omnium competition at the Track Elite European Championships

Italy's Elia Viviani celebrates after winning the Men's Omnium competition at the Track Elite European Championships
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Gold medalist Elia Viviani of Italy (L) competes with silver medalist Lasse Norman Hansen of Denmark during the Men's Omnium competition at the Track Elite European Championships

Gold medalist Elia Viviani of Italy (L) competes with silver medalist Lasse Norman Hansen of Denmark during the Men's Omnium competition at the Track Elite European Championships

Italy provided the shock of the day in the team pursuit at the UCI Track World Championships by breaking a 20-year national record and setting up a semi-final ride against Great Britain on Thursday.

Elia Viviani, Liam Bertazzo, Simone Consonni and Francesco Lamon were the third team off in the afternoon session but only Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand could better the Italians' time of 3:57.800. The previous record of 4:02.752 had been set by Mauro Trentini, Adler Capelli, Cristiano Citton and Andrea Collinelli in Manchester back in 1996, a memory not lost on National Technical Coach Davide Cassani and fellow professional rider Giovanni Lombardi, who both watched today’s effort from the Italian pits in centre of the track.

"I’m really happy for the young guys in the team because they’ve worked a lot in the last year,” Viviani told Cyclingnews after his warm-down.

Vivani’s inclusion in the event was somewhat of a surprise with the Team Sky rider riding the Scratch race in the evening session on Day One and then competing in the two-day Ominum. However the Italian stressed that the Omnium remains his prime target during these championships and he has been clearly earmarked as one of he favourites alongside Mark Cavendish, Fernando Gaviria and defending Olympic champion, Lasse Norman Hansen.