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World and Olympic track records broken in Beijing

Victoria Pendleton set a new Olympic record in the 200m shortly after Meares.

Victoria Pendleton set a new Olympic record in the 200m shortly after Meares. (Image credit: Casey Gibson)

By Rob Jones in Beijing

In the other three events started in Sunday's morning and afternoon sessions - the men's and women's sprint competitions, and the team pursuit, either Olympic or World Records were set, all by British riders.

In the flying 200 metre time trials for the sprint qualification, five men and four women all broke the existing Olympic records, with the top qualifiers both within a tenth of a second of the world record. Chris Hoy was the best for the men, with a time of 9.815 seconds, followed by his team-mate Jason Kenny at 9.857 seconds. Theo Bos holds the world record at 9.772 seconds. Stefan Nimke (Germany), Kevin Sireau (France) and Mickael Bourgain (France) also went under the Olympic mark of 10.129 seconds, set by Gary Neiwand of Australia, back in Atlanta in 1996.

In the women's 200m time trial, Victoria Pendleton's 10.963 seconds was just outside the world record of 10.831 set by Olga Slyusareva (Russia) back in 1993, and well ahead of the Olympic mark of 11.212 set by Michelle Ferris (Australia), set in 1996. Guo Shuang (China), Anna Meares (Australia) and Willy Kanis (Netherlands) also broke the old Olympic record.

Once the racing started, there were a few surprises on the men's side, with defending champion Ryan Bayley (Australia), Nimke and Roberto Chiappa (Italy) all failing to make to Monday's quarter final round. Hoy, Kenny, Bos, Sireau, Bourgain, Teun Mulder (Netherlands), Max Levy (Germany) and Azizulhasni Awang (Malaysia) will contest the quarterfinals. Awang is the only real new name among the remaining riders, and his blazing speed will make him a rider to watch for the future.

On the women's side, Pendleton, Guo, Meares, Kanis, Jennie Reed (USA), Clara Sanchez (France), Natalia Tsylinskaya (Belarus) and Simona Krupeckaite (Lithuania) advanced to the quarter finals, also set for Monday.

The final event of the day was the qualifying and first round of the team pursuit. In qualifying, Great Britain and New Zealand were the only teams to go under four minutes. But when it came to the first round, with the fastest two going on to race for gold, third and fourth to go for bronze and the rest to go home, the speeds picked up dramatically.

All four teams that move on to the medal round caught their opponents. Great Britain smashed the world record of 3:56.322, which they set at the world championships in March, by over a second - 3:55.205 . Denmark qualified second at 3:56.831, followed by New Zealand (3:57.536) and Australia (3:58.633), the defending Olympic champions.

Great Britain has said that they will not talk to the media until after the gold medal ride, however, Denmark has all but conceded the title.

"We were very nervous," said Danish team member Michael Moerkoev. "Because New Zealand was our biggest competition [for silver]. Great Britain is far away, way ahead."

See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the Olympic events.

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