World Track Cycling 2013: Trott, King, Barker win team pursuit gold

 

UCI World Track Cycling Championships 2013

  • Venue: Minsk Arena, Minsk
  • Date: 20-24 February 2013
  • Coverage details: Watch on BBC Two, Red Button, BBC Sport website & mobiles. Listen on Radio 5 live sports extra. Online text commentaries. Watch again on iPlayer

Great Britain won their first gold medal of the 2013 World Track Cycling Championships as their women's team pursuit trio beat Australia in Belarus.

Olympic champions Laura Trott and Dani King teamed up with A-Level student Elinor Barker to defend the title.

They clocked three minutes 18.140 seconds to beat Australia's Annette Edmondson, Ashlee Ankudinoff and Melissa Hoskins by 1.773 secs.

Women's 500m time trial bronze medallist Becky James

James sprints to time trial bronze

Becky James won bronze in the 500m time trial - her second medal in Minsk.

And Ireland's Martyn Irvine won gold in the 15km scratch race and silver in the individual pursuit to become the first man from his country to win a medal since 1897.

These world championships were the final time that the women's team pursuit would be run as a three-woman, 3km race - it is set to be extended by an extra rider and another kilometre.

So, given that Britain had dominated the discipline since its inception in 2008, it was appropriate that they marked its send-off by clinching a fifth world title in six years to go with their Olympic triumph at London 2012, when Jo Rowsell teamed up with Trott and King.

Barker, who is just 18 and has brought her schoolbooks with her to Minsk, had stepped in because Rowsell is currently concentrating on her road career, but the new format is likely to see them team up together with Trott and King in the future.

Barker takes homework to Minsk

The trio did not have things all their own way, with Australia leading by 0.307 seconds after 1km of the 3km or 12-lap race, but by the 2km mark GB were 0.841 seconds ahead and a strong finish saw them home.

"It was really hard," Trott said. "It seemed to flow nicely and we changed a few things from qualifying and it came off.

"If someone thought they couldn't cope on the front they came off. It tops it off for us. To win the race the last time it will be as a 3km is amazing."

Barker added: "I feel really overwhelmed. I thought I was just riding round the Manchester Velodrome in a training ride and then we won. I just feel shocked. It is above and beyond what I've dreamed of."

And King said: "It means everything. We've worked so hard since the Olympic Games and although Jo will come back, it's great to have Elinor on the team."

But there was disappointment for Britain in the men's team sprint as Philip Hindes , Jason Kenny and Kian Emadi missed out on a medal after only finishing sixth in qualifying for the men's team sprint and had to watch Germany beat New Zealand for gold.

Analysis

"We have seen it time and time again. Great Britain race to their own schedule - they only race the opposition in the closing stages. They do their own race for the majority. They were full of confidence after their qualifying run, but the Australians came back and pushed them hard in the early stages. Technically it was an absolutely superb ride by the British trio. It's amazing how closely together they can ride."

Emadi replaced the absent Sir Chris Hoy as man three in an event where Britain won gold at London 2012, and struggled to keep up with the acceleration of Hindes and Kenny.

Hindes got off to his usual strong start and Britain had the second-fastest time after lap two but Emadi, 20, was unable to hold Kenny's wheel and his lap was only 13th fastest out of the 15 teams.

Britain's sprint coach Jan van Eijden said: "It's very hard to replace someone like Chris. We have four years to hopefully get it right.

"We had good preparation and thought we were in with a big shout of medals but unfortunately our third man could not hang on at the start.

"It's hard in training to simulate that hard start. Because Philip did fairly well, Jason had to go after him and that really stretched Kian."

James' performance made rather happier viewing for Van Eijden, who predicted a medal for the 21-year-old from Abergavenny in Monmouthshire before the 500m time trial began and was proved correct as she picked up her second bronze medal of the week.

Great Britain's men's sprint team

GB men miss out in team sprint

"I'm pretty shocked," said James, who will also compete in the individual sprint competition on Friday and Saturday and the keirin on Sunday.

"I've come in with good form, but 500 has always been a hard event and I didn't expect to come away with a medal.

"It was a bit of an agonising wait towards the end, when everyone was going a bit slower. To come away with a medal, I'm so happy."

James's team sprint partner Vicky Williamson finished 11th in the time trial while another new member of the British squad, 19-year-old Owain Doull, was fifth in the scratch race.

Britain's Steven Burke , a late replacement for Andy Tennant, could only finish 17th in the individual pursuit.