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Olympic Games 2012: Track Day One

Welcome to Cyclingnews' live updates from the Olympic velodrome at the 2012 Olympic Games in London! Day one consists of the women's team sprint qualifying (16:00), men's team sprint qualifying (16:15), women's team sprint round 1 (16:30), then qualifying round of the men's team pursuit (16:42) followed by men's team sprint round 2 (17:46). Then, it's the women's(17:59)  and men's team sprint finals (18:15).

The track has been cleared of warm up, and the emcee is now warming up the crowd, directing them to be absolutely quiet for the countdown to the team sprint starts. We'll see if they all get it!

There are still plenty of open seats in the velodrome because of delays getting into the building - there are airlocks at each entrance to maintain the temperature and pressure in the building to ensure equal conditions for all teams.

Velodrome at Olympics #london2012 http://t.co/rJkaMMHV

Road world champion Mark Cavendish is here, doing some commentary for broadcasters. The road world champion raced on the track in Beijing, but then the Madison was eliminated as an event, so he no longer focuses on the track.

First up in the women's team sprint are Korea vs. Venezuela, then Ukraine vs. Colombia. France v. Netherlands are the third heat.

Lee Eun Ji and Hyejin Lee (KOR) on the front stretch, Lyubov Shulika, Olena Tsyos on back.

Venezuela gets it 34.320 over 34.636 for Korea.

In the qualifying round, two teams will be eliminated based on time so that only eight teams move onto the second round.

I'm sorry, that last round was Venezuela versus Korea, and Venezuela won.

Now it's UKR vs. COL. Ukraine on the front stretch.

Ukraine wins this heat in 33.708 - a very fast time and new olympic record! Colombia 34.87 - had some issues with lead rider dropping her finisher.

Now Netherlands vs. France: Hijgenaar and Kanis on front, Clair and Cueff on the back.

The first round of the qualifications is important, because the 8th place finisher goes up against the top seed, while 2nd vs. 7th, 3rd vs 6th and 4th vs 5th.

The track and the women are fast tonight! Netherlands sets another OR in 33.253, now top seed. 33.638 for France.

Pendleton and Varnish face McCulloch and Meares in the next heat - the two giants of team sprinting. The atmosphere is electric!

Wow! New world record! GBR came from behind to overhaul Oz who led until the last half lap - 32.526 over Australia's 32.825.

Now it is China's Gong and Guo vs. Germany's Vogel/Welte.

Another new world record from China! 32.447, beating Germany, 32.630!

Your qualifiers for the next round of the women's team sprint are as follows:

1. China
2. Great Britain
3. Germany
4. Australia
5. Netherlands
6. France
7. Ukraine
8. Venezuela

Wow. World record to the Brits in women's team sprint - think we need to get used to watching records fall at the velodrome. #London2012

@KatherineLBates Thu, 2nd Aug 2012 16:12:42

Men's team sprint heats are now starting. Poland had a mishap when racing Venezuela and both stopped racing. There should be a restart at the end of the block.

Another mishap in heat 2 of the men's team sprint - China vs. Japan. Not sure if riders are pulling the gate or if it is malfunctioning.

This time the gun fired and riders stopped racing, so the China/Japan heat will go forward directly.

China gets an Olympic record - fast track to be sure. 43.751 for China, versus 44.324 for Japan.

Next up: NZL vs. Russia in heat 3. Australia/France in heat 4, Germany vs. Great Britain in heat 5.

Jess Varnish registered 18.797 first lap, fraction outside PB of 18.792 which she did here in the Oly test event in Feb.

@willfoth Thu, 2nd Aug 2012 16:20:57

Oh dear, New Zealand's starter gave it too much gas out of the gate and dropped the next two. Russia is much smoother. 43.681 - they get the lead for now, while New Zealand's mistakes cost them. 44.175

Poland against Venezuela re-start has been done. Neither team threatened the quickest time. Venezuela edged Poland, 44.654 to 44.712.

Australia and France are up next.

France won that match over Australia - leading the entire way to take a new olympic record in 43.097 to Australia's 43.377.

Or at least the scoreboard thinks it's an Olympic Record. Great Britain went 42.95 in Beijing, so there is some mistake.

Great Britain is up against Germany now - a very popular race in this house.

That is not good for Great Britain - Philip Hindes has crashed in the first turn. He seems to be OK, however. They should get a restart under the rules.

Cyclingnews spoke with Jamie Staff, the third member of the gold medal winning British team in Beijing, and he said coming here to coach and watch rather than compete was a bit emotional. He had some minor tinges of regret, but said that all the aches and pains reminded him that he picked the right time to retire.

Hindes' wheel seemed to slip as he came out the gate. Quick thinking to chuck himself on to the track...

@richardmoore73 Thu, 2nd Aug 2012 16:40:36

OK - British and Germans get a second chance now. Keep it upright Philip!

Philip's strategy to psych out the Germans seemed to have its intended effect! The British go 43.065 to defeat the Germans by more than half a second. 43.710 for the Germans.

That slots the Brits into first, Germany in fifth.

Men's team sprint qualifying results: Poland and Venezuela are out.

1. Great Britain
2. France
3. Australia
4. Russia
5. Germany
6. China
7. New Zealand
8. Japan
9. Venezuela
10. Poland

The top 8 now move onto round 2 of the team sprint:

RUS v. GER
AUS v. CHN
NZL v. FRA
GBR v. JPN

Next up in the women's team sprint first round:

Heat 1: AUS v. NED
Heat 2: GER v. FRA
Heat 3: UKR v. GBR
Heat 4: CHN v. VEN

Australia's women get the win over the Netherlands, 32.806. Dutch team did 33.090. Both teams quicker in the second round.

The team sprint isn't necessarily based on time for the medal finals - you have to win in round 1, then the top four are seeded by time. So these women have to not only go fast, they have to win.

Germany gets the win over France, setting a 32.701 - France did 33.707.

In the team sprint, the losers of this round are ranked by time for places 5th-8th, unlike the team pursuit where all riders do a second round for ranking.

What a consistent performance by Great Britain - nearly an identical time to their previous round. They win over UKR with 32.527, only one thousandth of a second slower than qualifying. Ukraine in with 33.620.

Now it's Venezuela who has the unenviable position of having to go up against the world record setting team from China in the last heat.

The Chinese pair, Guo and Gong went under their previous mark, setting 32.422 for the fastest time of the night and an (un-ratified) new world record. Venezuela, 34.415.

So it looks to be Great Britain and China going for gold, and Australia and Germany heading to the bronze medal round if we understand the rules and the timing correctly.

The men's team pursuit is next:

Korea v. Colombia
Belgium v. Denmark
Netherlands v. Spain
New Zealand v. Great Britain
Russia vs. Australia

We have heard that the British pair were disqualified for an incorrect changeover in the women's team sprint. They are currently under discussion.

After the world championships, where the British men were DQ'd for exchanging outside zone, Cyclingnews clarified the rules with the UCI's technical delegate Gilles Peruzzi. He explained that the first rider's front tire has to be behind the second rider's front tire after the pursuit line - they cannot pull behind earlier than the first marker 15m before the pursuit line, and have to have pulled behind by that line.

Great Britain relegated for an early exchange - that is a big disappointment, and the crowd boos.

Apologies for the miscommunication earlier, the team pursuiters aren't pursuiting. They are going one at a time. Korea came in with 4:07.210. The Colombians are on the track now setting times about four seconds quicker.

It's a strange twist of rules, whereby to move onto the final you must win your heat, then the top four are seeded by time. At this moment, it appears that means Ukraine is in the bronze medal final against Australia rather than the Netherlands, who were the fifth fastest - and a full 0.7 seconds quicker than Ukraine. We will confirm once we get the official results.

Still early heats in the team pursuit qualifiers. It's a captivating event, one of pure precision. The Danish are looking quite smooth.

Korea was in with 4:07.2, Colombia 4:03.1, then Belgium in with 4:04.05. The Danes are 1.5s quicker than the Colombians now.

The Netherlands men's team pursuiters just came through in the third best time, 4:03.818.

Denmark still leads with the first sub-four minute time of the night, 3:58.298. Colombia currently third, with Belgium and Korea rounding out the list.

German's pursuit team goes second fastest, 4:02.113. The time of the young Danish team is looking solid with four teams left to race. New Zealand is up next.

Vicky P just spoke to press said she takes responsibility. to be fair to commissaire it was not that marginal. cruel luck for Jess Varnish

@willfoth Thu, 2nd Aug 2012 17:34:56

New best time by New Zealand: 3:57.607 - but what's that I hear? It's the roar of the crowd. Who could that be for? Great Britain of course. Clancy, Thomas, Burke and Kennaugh are picked for the qualifying.

They're not looking spectacular - but they are solid. Not on the world record pace, but are 2s ahead of the Kiwis at the half.

They may prove me wrong, the crowds are pushing them to a fine ride in this second half.

Holy cow, that was a fast final 2km. The British have smashed their world record, and Olympic record, going 3:52.499. The old world record set in Melbourne was 3:53.295

The British were obviously pacing themselves well in the first half - starting conservatively by only putting in less than a second per kilo on the Kiwis, then pulling out almost two per kilo in the second half.

Official start list has confirmed Ukraine will face Australia for bronze in the women's team sprint.

Russia put in the fourth best time of the night. Australia currently pushing in for a 3:55.694.

Second best for Australia behind Great Britain. New Zealand third best ahead of Russai. Only Belgium and Korea will not move onto the second round tomorrow.

The British are clearly far, far above the rest. Australia look strong, and the Kiwis, Danes and Russians will have to fight it out to make the finals tomorrow.

Men's team sprint second round up next. Germany beat Russia in heat 1, 43.178 to 43.909.

Australia and China next, then France and New Zealand, followed by Great Britain against Japan.

New fastest time of the night for France - 42.991 - They easily beat New Zealand.

Up on deck - it's Great Britain and Japan.

Another world record for Great Britain! Unbelievable - 42.747 - almost two tenths quicker than what Germany set in Cali in 2011.

The performance was so amazing it knocked out our internet.

Now, it's right on to the women's team sprint bronze medal final. Ukraine versus Australia

Gold medal for China - 32.619. Silver for Germany - and then Bronze for Australia.

UPDATE: Stunning, China relegated to silver for exchange. Germany wins gold!

In the men's team sprint bronze medal final, Germany topped Australia by a 0.146 margin.

Great Britain appears to have won the gold, setting a new world record in 42.600 over France, who was at 43.013. Let's let the judges rule they've raced a clean heat.

The results are official - gold for Great Britain. France in silver, with Germany in bronze.

Thank for you following this first day of the track racing with Cyclingnews. That's it for today! Tomorrow: men's team pursuit finals, women's team pursuit qualifying and Chris Hoy returns in the keirin for his second and final chance at gold.

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