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Olympics: Germany beat Great Britain to win gold in women's team pursuit

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Germany break the world record in the women's team pursuit qualifying at the Tokyo Olympics.

Germany break the world record in team pursuit qualifying. (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Women's Team Pursuit qualifying Tokyo Olympics 2021

New Zealand in action in team pursuit qualifying. (Image credit: Getty)
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Women's Team Pursuit qualifying Tokyo Olympics 2021

Australia could only manage 7th in qualifying. (Image credit: Getty)
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Women's Team Pursuit qualifying Tokyo Olympics 2021

Canada were 8th quickest in qualifying. (Image credit: Getty)
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Women's Team Pursuit qualifying Tokyo Olympics 2021

Great Britain were second fastest in qualifying. (Image credit: Getty)
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Women's Team Pursuit qualifying Tokyo Olympics 2021

Great Britain en route to second in qualifying. (Image credit: Getty)
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Italy in action in the women's team pursuit qualifying.

Italy in action in the women's team pursuit qualifying. (Image credit: Getty)

Germany set new world record to take gold 

Germany once again broke the world record as they claimed the women’s team pursuit gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics by beating Great Britain in the final.

After setting new world bests in each of their two previous runs on the velodrome, Germany produced another remarkable display in the final, clocking 4:04.249 and almost catching the British squad, who fell short of their best with 4:10.607.

Germany started strongly and they already had a lead of 1.13 seconds over the British quartet after the first kilometre.

The result was never in doubt from there, with Mieke Kroeger delivering a searing kilometre-long turn to push the German advantage out towards 3 seconds. After Kroeger swung off, her teammates Franziska Brausse, Lisa Brennauer and Lisa Klein continued to pile on the pressure as they closed to within touching distance of the British team.

Germany didn’t quite catch Laura Kenny et al but they crossed the line almost two seconds quicker than the world record of 4:06.159 they had set in the first round.

"I would say we didn’t expect to do a 4:04," Lisa Brennauer said afterwards. "We knew we could possibly ride a world record going into the race. But what we did in the final, it was all-out and when we saw the time, it was incredible. I don’t think any of us were expecting us to do that."

Great Britain had briefly held the world record during the first round when Kenny, Elinor Barker, Josie Knight and Katie Archibald clocked 4:06.748 en route to defeating USA to make the final, though Germany dipped just below that mark in the very next heat.

That display made Germany slight favourites for the final, even if Great Britain – gold medallists in London and Rio – had all the pedigree in the event. Britain made one change for the final, bringing in Nia Evans in place of Barker, but they were overpowered by a smooth German quartet in the final.

The women’s team pursuit marked Laura Kenny’s first defeat at the Olympic Games, after she won gold in both this discipline and the omnium in 2012 and 2016. Kenny will compete for omnium gold later this week as well as in the Madison.

In the bronze medal race, the United States defeated Canada, with Chloe Dygert, Jessica Valente, Megan Jastrab and Emma White producing a time of 4:08.040.

Australia claimed fifth ahead of Italy, while France beat New Zealand to seventh place.

Germany and Great Britain to ride-off for gold 

The women’s Team Pursuit World Records continued to fall on the Izu Velodrome on Tuesday as Great Britain topped the mark set by Germany in qualifying and then the team quickly came out and reclaimed the record with an even better time in the first round heats. 

Great Britain set a time of 4:06.748 in its heat against the United States and while all went well during the event, there was a small fall involving two of the riders as they celebrated after their ride. 

Germany then delivered a new record 4:06.159 in the final heat against Italy, who lost speed in the final laps. 

That means the two nations will line up to decide who takes gold or silver. It will be the United States and Canada who get to battle it out for bronze. 

Australia just missed out on the medal contest, delivering a big improvement on Monday’s time with 4:09.992 but that didn’t match up to the time 4:07.562 delivered by the United States and was just a little behind fourth place finisher Canada at 4;09.249.

Germany qualified fastest in the women’s team pursuit at the Tokyo Olympics, dominating with a new world and Olympic record time of 4:07.307 after producing a super slick ride.

Franziska Brausse, Lisa Brennauer, Lisa Klein, and Mieke Kroeger were one of the early quartets to race but nobody could match their performance.

Great Britain was second fastest in 4:09.022, the USA third in 4:10.118, with Italy setting the fourth fastest time of 4:11.666. New Zealand was sixth with 4:12.536, Australian was seventh in 13.571 and Canada set 4:15.832.

Germany's time was nearly three seconds faster than the previous world record of 4:10.236 set five years ago by Great Britain at the 2016 Rio Olympics, indicating how the women’s team pursuit has also become a race of power and big gears as well as speed and pacing.

“It was super-hard work and I think we knew from the training that we can go fast. We just had to be concentrated today and be at our best to do this time,” Brennauer said.

Kroeger hinted the team could go even faster. 

“That's our big goal and even have a zero-six (a time under 4 minutes and 7 seconds) on the table. We will see what we can do,” she said.

"In training we saw that the track is pretty fast, and that our shape is good and we are pretty harmonic together, and so we aimed for it."

Behind Germany, pacing and technique played a key factor, with several teams down to three riders early and then struggling to stay together for the final laps.

Great Britain started fast but then faded in the second half of their ride. Katie Archibald led the charge home but made her British teammates suffer, while the USA suffered a similar fate behind Chloe Dygert as they fought to set the third fastest time.  

"We’re happy with the time, not always with the result," Archbald told the BBC. 

"We thought we would be just on the long side of what the Germans did so when we saw them post that time, we were like, okay, an extra squeeze in the top end of that schedule. We just found out we didn’t have it in that last kilo."

Great Britain hope their five-rider roster cam make a difference on Tuesday. 

"We brought a team of five with Neah Evans, that was always on the cards with an hour and a half gap tomorrow (between races)," Archbald said.

"Backing up becomes really important, those points where you see teams fracture, like the Americans did, like we saw the Germans do at worlds, becomes make or break when you’re down to those fine tenths. We have to make sure we make those."

Italy will face Germany in the first round and fight for the final, with Great Britain facing the USA. The winners of each of those two races will compete in the gold medal final. The bronze medal final is contested by the two fastest teams of the four first round pursuits who didn't make it to the gold final.

Both rounds will be contested on Tuesday.

Women's Team Pursuit qualifying
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Germany 0:04:07.307
Franziska Brausse
Lisa Brennauer
Lisa Klein
Mieke Kroeger
2Great Britain 0:04:09.022
Katie Archibald
Laura Kenny
Elinor Barker
Josie Knight
3United States of America 0:04:10.118
Jennifer Valente
Chloe Dygert
Emma White
Lily Williams
4Italy 0:04:11.666
Elisa Balsamo
Letizia Paternoster
Rachele Barbieri
Vittoria Guazzini
5France 0:04:12.502
Victoire Berteau
Marion Borras
Valentine Fortin
Marie le Net
6New Zealand 0:04:12.536
Holly Edmondston
Bryony Botha
Kirstie James
Jaime Nielsen
7Australia 0:04:13.571
Georgia Baker
Annette Edmondson
Ashlee Ankudinoff
Alexandra Manly
8Canada 0:04:15.832
Allison Beveridge
Jasmin Duehring
Annie Foreman-Mackey
Georgia Simmerling

Women's Team Pursuit Round 1 Heat 1
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Australia 0:04:09.992
Georgia Baker
Annette Edmondson
XAshlee Ankudinoff
Maeve Plouffe
RAlexandra Manly
2New Zealand 0:04:10.223
Holly Edmondston
Bryony Botha
XRushlee Buchanan
Jaime Nielsen
RKirstie James

Women's Team Pursuit Round 1 Heat 2
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Canada 0:04:09.249
XAllison Beveridge
Ariane Bonhomme
Annie Foreman-Mackey
Georgia Simmerling
RJasmin Duehring
2France 0:04:11.888
Marion Borras
Coralie Demay
XValentine Fortin
Marie le Net
RVictoire Berteau

Women's Team Pursuit Round 1 Heat 3
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Great Britain 0:04:06.748
Katie Archibald
Laura Kenny
XNeah Evans
Josie Knight
RElinor Barker
2United States of America 0:04:07.562
XMegan Jastrab
Jennifer Valente
Chloe Dygert
Emma White
RLily Williams

Women's Team Pursuit Round 1 Heat 4
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Germany 0:04:06.159
XFranziska Brausse
Lisa Brennauer
Lisa Klein
Mieke Kroeger
2Italy 0:04:10.063
Elisa Balsamo
Letizia Paternoster
XRachele Barbieri
Vittoria Guazzini

Women's Team Pursuit Final
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Germany 0:04:04.242
Franziska Brausse
Lisa Brennauer
Lisa Klein
XMieke Kroeger
2Great Britain 0:04:10.607
Katie Archibald
Laura Kenny
XNeah Evans
Josie Knight
Elinor Barker
3United States of America 0:04:08.040
XMegan Jastrab
Jennifer Valente
Chloe Dygert
Emma White
RLily Williams
4Canada 0:04:10.552
XAllison Beveridge
Ariane Bonhomme
Annie Foreman-Mackey
Georgia Simmerling
RJasmin Duehring
5Australia 0:04:11.041
Georgia Baker
Annette Edmondson
XAshlee Ankudinoff
Maeve Plouffe
RAlexandra Manly
6Italy 0:04:11.108
Elisa Balsamo
Letizia Paternoster
Martina Alzini
Vittoria Guazzini
RRachele Barbieri
7France 0:04:10.388
Victoire Berteau
Marion Borras
XValentine Fortin
Marie le Net
RCoralie Demay
8New Zealand 0:04:10.600
Holly Edmondston
Bryony Botha
XKirstie James
Jaime Nielsen
RRushlee Buchanan

X - dropped, R = Reserve rider

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