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Great Britain, Germany earn gold in team sprint events

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Great Britain's team sprint squad show off their Olympic gold medals

Great Britain's team sprint squad show off their Olympic gold medals
(Image credit: AFP)
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(Image credit: Cycling News)
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Sir Chris Hoy salutes the crowd after winning gold

Sir Chris Hoy salutes the crowd after winning gold
(Image credit: Cycling News)
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Sir Chris Hoy secures his fifth gold Olympic medal

Sir Chris Hoy secures his fifth gold Olympic medal
(Image credit: Cycling News)
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Sir Chris Hoy secures his fifth gold Olympic medal

Sir Chris Hoy secures his fifth gold Olympic medal
(Image credit: Cycling News)
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Jason Kenny picked up his first medal of the Games with a gold in the team sprint. He'll be hoping for more

Jason Kenny picked up his first medal of the Games with a gold in the team sprint. He'll be hoping for more
(Image credit: Cycling News)
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Dave Brailsford and Jason Kenny after gold was secured

Dave Brailsford and Jason Kenny after gold was secured
(Image credit: Cycling News)
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Philip Hindes after Great Britain beat France in the team sprint final

Philip Hindes after Great Britain beat France in the team sprint final
(Image credit: Cycling News)
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The British coaching staff enjoying gold in the men's team sprint

The British coaching staff enjoying gold in the men's team sprint
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Chris Hoy starts his cool down after another race

Chris Hoy starts his cool down after another race
(Image credit: Cycling News)
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Great Britain's team pursuit squad in action

Great Britain's team pursuit squad in action
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Great Britain's team pursuit squad in action

Great Britain's team pursuit squad in action
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Gregory Bauge sets the French team rolling in the team sprint

Gregory Bauge sets the French team rolling in the team sprint
(Image credit: Cycling News)
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Spain's team pursuit squad set a time of 4:02.113

Spain's team pursuit squad set a time of 4:02.113
(Image credit: Cycling News)
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The Danes will meet Great Britain in the next round of the team pursuit

The Danes will meet Great Britain in the next round of the team pursuit
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The home crowd cheered on their riders

The home crowd cheered on their riders
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Prince Harry is a track cycling fan

Prince Harry is a track cycling fan
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Sir Chris Hoy salutes the crowd after winning gold

Sir Chris Hoy salutes the crowd after winning gold
(Image credit: Cycling News)
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Great Britain win gold in the men's team sprint

Great Britain win gold in the men's team sprint
(Image credit: Cycling News)
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Russia's sprint team on the track

Russia's sprint team on the track
(Image credit: Cycling News)
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Russia's team pursuit team qualified in 5th

Russia's team pursuit team qualified in 5th
(Image credit: Cycling News)
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Russia's team pursuit team qualified in 5th

Russia's team pursuit team qualified in 5th
(Image credit: Cycling News)
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New Zealand came third in the pursuit qualifying

New Zealand came third in the pursuit qualifying
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New Zealand came third in the pursuit qualifying

New Zealand came third in the pursuit qualifying
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The Dutch women in the team sprint

The Dutch women in the team sprint
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The Dutch pursuit team

The Dutch pursuit team
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Korea's team pursuit squad finished last

Korea's team pursuit squad finished last
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Germany's Kristina Vogel and Miriam Welte on their way to gold in the women's team sprint

Germany's Kristina Vogel and Miriam Welte on their way to gold in the women's team sprint
(Image credit: Cycling News)
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The women's team sprint podium: China (silver), Germany (gold), Australia (bronze)

The women's team sprint podium: China (silver), Germany (gold), Australia (bronze)
(Image credit: Cycling News)
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Germany's Kristina Vogel and Miriam Welte

Germany's Kristina Vogel and Miriam Welte
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Germany take the gold in the women's team sprint

Germany take the gold in the women's team sprint
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The German sprinters finished third despite a last-minute change to their line-up

The German sprinters finished third despite a last-minute change to their line-up
(Image credit: Cycling News)
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The German sprinters finished third despite a last-minute change to their line-up

The German sprinters finished third despite a last-minute change to their line-up
(Image credit: Cycling News)
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Great Britain win gold in the men's team sprint

Great Britain win gold in the men's team sprint
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Home nation support at the Olympic velodrome

Home nation support at the Olympic velodrome
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Great Britain's men set a new world record in the team pursuit

Great Britain's men set a new world record in the team pursuit
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The Dutch pursuit team

The Dutch pursuit team
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Australia's men's sprint team were out of the medals

Australia's men's sprint team were out of the medals
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Australia qualified second fastest in the team pursuit

Australia qualified second fastest in the team pursuit
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An Australian coach shouts out time checks for the team sprinters

An Australian coach shouts out time checks for the team sprinters
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Belgium in the men's team pursuit

Belgium in the men's team pursuit
(Image credit: Cycling News)
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The Chinese men line-up for the men's sprint

The Chinese men line-up for the men's sprint
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The Chinese sprint team

The Chinese sprint team
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China thought they'd won gold in the women's team sprint but were relegated to silver

China thought they'd won gold in the women's team sprint but were relegated to silver
(Image credit: Cycling News)
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Gong Jinjie and Guo Shuang set two world records but had to settle for silver

Gong Jinjie and Guo Shuang set two world records but had to settle for silver
(Image credit: Cycling News)
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The home support at the London Olympic velodrome

The home support at the London Olympic velodrome
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Union Jacks were everywhere at the velodrome on Thursday night

Union Jacks were everywhere at the velodrome on Thursday night
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Gregory Bauge finishes his turn

Gregory Bauge finishes his turn
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Jason Kenny leads Chris Hoy on lap 2

Jason Kenny leads Chris Hoy on lap 2
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The French hand off to the final rider

The French hand off to the final rider
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Men's team sprint podium (L-R): France, Great Britain, Germany

Men's team sprint podium (L-R): France, Great Britain, Germany
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Germany starts the final

Germany starts the final
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Shuang Guo takes China to what they think is gold

Shuang Guo takes China to what they think is gold
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Jessica Varnish leads out Victoria Pendleton

Jessica Varnish leads out Victoria Pendleton
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Ukraine made the medal round after Great Britain was relegated

Ukraine made the medal round after Great Britain was relegated
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Chief official Wayne Pomario discusses the unpopular relegation of Great Britain out of the medal rounds

Chief official Wayne Pomario discusses the unpopular relegation of Great Britain out of the medal rounds
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Anna Meares leads out Kaarle McCulloch in their bronze medal win

Anna Meares leads out Kaarle McCulloch in their bronze medal win
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Rene Enders celebrates Germany's bronze

Rene Enders celebrates Germany's bronze
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Chris Hoy hits the line

Chris Hoy hits the line
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Australia gets ready to start

Australia gets ready to start
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New Zealand qualified 3rd fastest

New Zealand qualified 3rd fastest
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Australia struggled, qualified 2nd but 3 sec behind the Brits

Australia struggled, qualified 2nd but 3 sec behind the Brits
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Brits celebrate their new team pursuit world record

Brits celebrate their new team pursuit world record
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Denmark qualified 4th fastest

Denmark qualified 4th fastest
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Great Britain's Philip Hindes, Jason Kenny and Chris Hoy set a world record en route to gold in the men's team sprint.

Great Britain's Philip Hindes, Jason Kenny and Chris Hoy set a world record en route to gold in the men's team sprint.
(Image credit: AFP)
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Great Britain's Victoria Pendleton and Jess Varnish committed a takeover violation in their semi-final round and the resulting relegation ended their bid for a team sprint medal.

Great Britain's Victoria Pendleton and Jess Varnish committed a takeover violation in their semi-final round and the resulting relegation ended their bid for a team sprint medal.
(Image credit: AFP)
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Great Britain's men's team pursuit squad set a new world record in the qualifying round at the Olympic Games.

Great Britain's men's team pursuit squad set a new world record in the qualifying round at the Olympic Games.
(Image credit: AFP)
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Sir Chris Hoy takes a victory lap after he anchored his Great Britain team to both Olympic gold and a world record in the team sprint.

Sir Chris Hoy takes a victory lap after he anchored his Great Britain team to both Olympic gold and a world record in the team sprint.
(Image credit: AFP)
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Sir Chris Hoy won the fifth Olympic gold medal of his career with victory in the team sprint in London.

Sir Chris Hoy won the fifth Olympic gold medal of his career with victory in the team sprint in London.
(Image credit: AFP)
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Women's team sprint gold medalists: Germany's Miriam Welte, left, and Kristina Vogel

Women's team sprint gold medalists: Germany's Miriam Welte, left, and Kristina Vogel
(Image credit: AFP)

Men's Team Sprint
Sir Chris Hoy ushered the next generation of British talent to gold in the Olympic Games, putting in a blistering final leg of the men's team sprint to help Great Britain to win over France.

Starter Philip Hindes, second man Jason Kenny and Sir Hoy were not content to set the winning mark: they proved both in qualifying and finals that they were the best in the world by going faster than any three men had done over the distance in history - in round 1, they went under the world record mark, set by Germany in 2011 (42.914), with a time of 42.747.

In the final against France's Gregory Bauge, Kevin Sireau and Michael d'Almeida, the British trio went even faster, 42.600 - huge improvements in this short distance - to take home the gold.

"This is the most memorable gold medal of my career," Hoy said of number five. "When I threw my bike at the line and I heard the roar of the crowd, I knew we'd won.

"I thought my first win in Athens was the most memorable for me but this is by far the greatest win. It's an incredible feeling, the crowd have been fantastic. The whole country has been getting behind the Olympics.

"We knew it was possible," Hoy said of their performance. "This didn't just come out of the blue, but we knew if we kept it together, we had to have the best possible race. It's easier said than done. We had an excellent training camp in Newport. We had the full support of the team, and we nailed it."

Jason Kenny said the team was driven after being relegated from the world championships earlier this year in Melbourne. "We really wanted to do this after our world championships went disastrously wrong. We kept it really tight and controlled the emotions."

It is his second gold medal, but like Hoy he said the one in Beijing could not compare with today. "This one is unbelievable. It's great, isn't it? I cannot believe how good things went here today. There are a few guys here who are absolutely flying, we knew it was going to be a really close competition. This was probably the closest sprint competition there's ever been."

The French team were not at all satisfied to get silver again in a repeat performance of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

"It feels bitter. We're vice-champions. We felt ready for this but it still feels bitter," said Bauge. Sireau, also on the silver medal team that year agreed. "Happy with silver? Yes and no. A silver is still an Olympic medal. We prepared for gold. We already had a silver from Beijing so we know how that feels."

In the bronze medal final, Germany's Rene Enders, Robert Forstemann and Max Levy rode consistently quick to best Australia (Shane Perkins, Scott Sunderland and Matthew Glaetzer) by 0.149 seconds.

But unbeknownst to most of the crowd, Germany had a last minute change in their line-up when Stefan Nimke, a three-time Olympian and part of the gold medal team in Athens, and the bronze medal team in Beijing, pulled out due to back injuries suffered following a crash in training.

"Nimke is a big hero to us. He has had a lot of success in the past, but half hour before the start he said he cannot race," said Levy, giving respect to Nimke for his honesty. "We had to change our positions. Robert took the second wheel which was planned for me, so I went to the third wheel in qualification heat. We just had to get top 8. In so little time it is not possible to make a perfect race."

Forstemann, on the other hand, was thrilled to get a medal that he never once expected. "It is a great feeling to have an Olympic medal. I was just the reserve for the team sprint," said Forstemann. "If you had said to me this morning I would be in a medal final, I would not have believed it."

The world champion Australians were disappointed to miss out on the medals. Shane Perkins led off with a lap that was 0.3 seconds the pace of Enders, and Scott Sunderland and finisher Matthew Glaetzer could not close the gap. "No one likes to come fourth, but we left our best rides out there," Perkins said. "Obviously, being world champions, you expect to win at least a medal, but we were beaten by some classy teams."

The men's team sprint began with some opening night jitters, as the first two heats - Poland and Venezuela followed by China and Japan - suffered from starting mishaps. The problems continued in the heat between Great Britain and Germany when the home team's newest rider, Philip Hindes, appeared to dislocate his wheel in the staring gate, and he went tumbling in the first turn. That didn't slow down the British, however, after the re-start they went on to soundly beat the Germans, going 43.065 to the German's 43.710.

Some pundits called Hindes' crash an intentional dive in order to force a re-start, but the young German with a British father denied that he fell on purpose. "I just lost control in the turn - after I came out of the gate my wheel slipped and I couldn't handle the bike, and just crashed."

France, Australia and Russia were next fastest, with Germany slotting in for fifth over China. New Zealand and Japan made the next round, while Venezuela and Poland headed home. The first round heats determined which countries would race for gold and which for bronze. Germany won its heat over Russia, while Australia beat China.

France easily cruised to the win over New Zealand, setting a benchmark of 42.991, the quickest time recorded of the night, and the first under 43 seconds. But it would soon prove to be second best, as Great Britain whipped the crowd into a frenzy by setting a new world record in its heat against Japan, in 42.747.

Having been relegated in the world championships earlier this year, the British trio would be excused for being a bit more careful in the gold medal round, but careful is not a word one can apply to the team. They rode with confidence, grace and power to better their previous time and bring home their country's second cycling gold medal after Bradley Wiggins in the time trial.

Women's Team Sprint
Germany came away with its first gold medal in cycling of the 2012 Olympic Games, with Miriam Welte and Kristina Vogel climbing onto the top step of the podium in the Olympic velodrome in London.

China's Gong Jinjie leading and Guo Shuang looked set to win the gold, coming across the line 0.179 seconds quicker than Germany in the final, but were relegated to silver for a botched exchange.

The stunning news came after the Chinese had already celebrated their victory lap and the Germans had gone off to do their interviews. Once back inside the track, Vogel and Welte were quickly cleaned up and whisked away to the medal ceremony to receive their first gold medals.

"It was a bit weird, we were having an interview with the BBC when one of the women said hey, look at the screen - you've got the gold medal," Welte said. "It was amazing to win the silver, but when you find out that you have won the gold - it's an amazing moment that we can't describe.

"It is the first time this event is in the Olympics, we won the first gold in the team sprint. When you are world champions that is just for one year, but an Olympic title is for a lifetime. It is just amazing."

The Chinese were not the only team to be hit by relegations: in the first round Great Britain, who went second fastest in qualifying, were penalized for an early exchange by Jessica Varnish and Victoria Pendleton.

Vogel noted that the exchange line was difficult to see while traveling some 65kph, and that was likely why the teams had problems with going outside the zone. "It wasn't the way we wanted to win, because the Chinese were faster," Vogel said, but at the same time thanking their luck not only for getting them upgraded to the gold medal final when the British were relegated, but then again when the Chinese met the same fate. "After the British girls were relegated and we made the gold medal final, I said to Kristina 'maybe we can get it'."

Get it they did, but Gong Jinjie was clearly disappointed when the Chinese team finally appeared before the press after being subjected to blood and urine doping controls. "Today we got the silver medal in regrettable circumstances, but we will accept this with grace," Gong said.

Gong could not explain what went wrong, saying that even she did not know where the team broke the rules, which specify that the first rider must be behind the second rider by a certain zone at the end of the first lap.

The strict interpretation of the rules benefited the Australians: due to the oddities in the Olympic rules, whereby only winners move onto the finals, Britain's opponents Ukraine went up against Kaarle McCulloch and Anna Meares in the bronze medal final, even though the Netherlands were the fourth fastest classified finishers.

Australia beat Ukraine handily to win the bronze, with Anna Meares adding another medal to her collection, while for Kaarle McCulloch the bronze was a first.

"We probably benefited a little bit from the British being disqualified," Meares said. "I can only imagine how devastating that was for them. It was bittersweet for Kaarle and I."

Meares will face off in the keirin and individual sprint, while in contrast, McCulloch, who was racing in her sole Olympic event, was gutted to let her teammate down.

"I have to admit I didn't perform at the best of my abilities. It's unfortunate because I was in the best shape of my life. I'm pretty disappointed I let the team down, but to get a bronze medal is still fantastic."

The world record ride of Gong and Guo in the first round was little consolation for the Chinese. The duo set a 32.422 in the first round to take that unofficial mark. But as the officials showed at the world championships in Melbourne, they were not afraid to enforce the rules when it came to the finals.

"We had the strength," Gong said. "We showed that today. Today we had this small event, we must face reality. This event will be a driving force for us after today."

In the Olympics, the format of the women's team sprint differs from that of the world championships. It began with the qualifying round, where ten teams would be reduced to eight based upon the times set in the opening heats. Korea and Colombia were the first to be eliminated from the competition, while at the other end of the spectrum, Great Britain thrilled the crowds by going up against their arch rivals Australia in the opening round and pulling out a 0.3 second advantage by the line in the first of the Pendleton versus Meares match-ups.

Britain's 32.526 was a new Olympic Record, of course as the event makes its debut in the Games, but it also bettered the world mark set by Germany in the world championships in Melbourne. There was very little time for celebration, however, as in the very next heat that record would fall at the hands of China's Guo and Gong, who rode in with a 32.447.

The Chinese pair continued their dominance in the next round, where teams were seeded fastest over slowest, the winners of each heat moving onto the medal rounds. Australia won its heat over The Netherlands, Germany won over France, and the next two rounds would determine who raced for gold and who raced for bronze by time.

Great Britain faced up against Ukraine, and Jess Varnish put in another solid first lap, but disaster struck them at the end of the lap where it was determined that Pendleton had pushed ahead before the exchange line. Even though she put in another lightning fast closing lap, it was later announced the team had been relegated to last place for the missed exchange.

The house was silent as China hammered Venezuela with a new world record pace, going 32.422 to move onto the gold medal final against Germany, who was next quickest once the British team were relegated. The Australians, who were a tenth of a second slower, would face Ukraine for bronze.

When the time finally came for the bronze medal final, Australia easily topped the Ukrainians, going home in 32.727, well ahead. The gold medal final hardly sparked the interest of the British fans lining the stadium, although it was one of the closest line-ups of the evening. The Chinese were ahead by a tenth of a second margin, but it did them no good as Germany won the gold by executing their race within the rules.

Men's Team Sprint - Qualifying
1Great Britain0:00:43.065
Philip Hindes
Chris Hoy
Jason Kenny
2France0:00:43.097
Gregory Bauge
Michael D'Almeida
Kevin Sireau
3Australia0:00:43.377
Matthew Glaetzer
Shane Perkins
Scott Sunderland
4Russia0:00:43.681
Sergey Borisov
Denis Dmitriev
Sergey Kucherov
5Germany0:00:43.710
Rene Enders
Robert Forstemann
Maximilian Levy
6China0:00:43.751
Cheng Changsong
Zhang Lei
Zhang Miao
7New Zealand0:00:44.175
Edward Dawkins
Ethan Mitchell
Simon van Velthooven
8Japan0:00:44.324
Seiichiro Nakagawa
Yudai Nitta
Kazunari Watanabe
9Venezuela0:00:44.654
Hersony Canelon
Cesar Marcano
Angel Pulgar
10Poland0:00:44.712
Maciej Bielecki
Kamil Kuczynski
Damian Zielinski

Men's Team Sprint - Round 1: Heat 1
1Germany0:00:43.178
Rene Enders
Robert Forstemann
Maximilian Levy
2Russia0:00:43.909
Sergey Borisov
Denis Dmitriev
Sergey Kucherov

Men's Team Sprint - Round 1: Heat 2
1Australia0:00:43.261
Matthew Glaetzer
Shane Perkins
Scott Sunderland
2China0:00:43.505
Cheng Changsong
Zhang Lei
Zhang Miao

Men's Team Sprint - Round 1: Heat 3
1France0:00:42.991
Gregory Bauge
Michael D'Almeida
Kevin Sireau
2New Zealand0:00:43.495
Edward Dawkins
Ethan Mitchell
Simon van Velthooven

Men's Team Sprint - Round 1: Heat 4
1Great Britain0:00:42.747
Philip Hindes
Chris Hoy
Jason Kenny
2Japan0:00:43.964
Seiichiro Nakagawa
Yudai Nitta
Kazunari Watanabe

Men's Team Sprint - Gold medal round
1Great Britain0:00:42.600
Philip Hindes
Chris Hoy
Jason Kenny
2France0:00:43.013
Gregory Bauge
Michael D'Almeida
Kevin Sireau

Men's Team Sprint - Bronze medal round
3Germany0:00:43.209
Rene Enders
Robert Forstemann
Maximilian Levy
4Australia0:00:43.355
Matthew Glaetzer
Shane Perkins
Scott Sunderland

Men's Team Pursuit - Qualifying
1Great Britain0:03:52.499
Edward Clancy
Geraint Thomas
Steven Burke
Peter Kennaugh
2Australia0:03:55.694
Jack Bobridge
Glenn O'Shea
Rohan Dennis
Michael Hepburn
3New Zealand0:03:57.607
Sam Bewley
Westley Gough
Marc Ryan
Jesse Sergent
4Denmark0:03:58.298
Lasse Norman Hansen
Michael Morkov
Rasmus Christian Quaade
Casper von Folsach
5Russia0:03:59.264
Evgeny Kovalev
Ivan Kovalev
Alexey Markov
Alexander Serov
6Spain0:04:02.113
Pablo Aitor Bernal Rosique
Sebastian Mora Vedri
David Muntaner Juaneda
Albert Torres Barcelo
7Colombia0:04:03.712
Juan Esteban Arango Carvajal
Edwin Alcibiades Avila Vanegas
Arles Antonio Castro Laverde
Weimar Alfonso Roldan Ortiz
8Netherlands0:04:03.818
Levi Heimans
Jenning Huizenga
Wim Stroetinga
Tim Veldt
9Belgium0:04:04.053
Gijs van Hoecke
Dominique Cornu
Jonathan Dufrasne
Kenny de Ketele
10Korea0:04:07.210
Seung Woo Choi
Sun Jae Jang
Keon Woo Park
Seonho Park

Women's Team Sprint - Qualifying
1China0:00:32.447
Gong Jinjie
Guo Shuang
2Great Britain0:00:32.526
Victoria Pendleton
Jessica Varnish
3Germany0:00:32.630
Kristina Vogel
Miriam Welte
4Australia0:00:32.825
Kaarle McCulloch
Anna Meares
5Netherlands0:00:33.253
Yvonne Hijgenaar
Willy Kanis
6France0:00:33.638
Sandie Clair
Virginie Cueff
7Ukraine0:00:33.708
Lyubov Shulika
Olena Tsyos
8Venezuela0:00:34.320
Daniela Grelui Larreal
Mariaesthela Vilera
9Korea0:00:34.636
Lee Eun Ji
Lee Hyejin
10Colombia0:00:34.870
Diana Maria Garcia Orrego
Juliana Gaviria Rendon

Women's Team Sprint - Round 1: Heat 1
1Australia0:00:32.806
Kaarle McCulloch
Anna Meares
2Netherlands0:00:33.090
Yvonne Hijgenaar
Willy Kanis

Women's Team Sprint - Round 1: Heat 2
1Germany0:00:32.701
Kristina Vogel
Miriam Welte
2France0:00:33.707
Sandie Clair
Virginie Cueff

Women's Team Sprint - Round 1: Heat 3
1Ukraine0:00:33.620
Lyubov Shulika
Olena Tsyos
2Great BritainREL
Victoria Pendleton
Jessica Varnish

Women's Team Sprint - Round 1: Heat 4
1China0:00:32.422
Gong Jinjie
Guo Shuang
2Venezuela0:00:34.415
Daniela Grelui Larreal
Mariaesthela Vilera

Women's Team Sprint - Gold medal round
1Germany0:00:32.798
Kristina Vogel
Miriam Welte
2ChinaREL
Gong Jinjie
Guo Shuang

Women's Team Sprint - Bronze medal round
3Australia0:00:32.727
Kaarle McCulloch
Anna Meares
4Ukraine0:00:33.491
Lyubov Shulika
Olena Tsyos

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