First victory of 2014 Worlds for Great Britain, but crash sees Jason Kenny miss out on Keirin medal

Great Britain last night won its first gold medal of the 2014 UCI Track World Championships in Cali, Colombia in the women's team pursuit - but Canada pushed them all the way to the line in a thrilling final, threatening to end their dominance in the event.

It was the first time at a World Championships that the event had been raced in the new four-woman, 4,000 metre format. World and Olympic champions Great Britain qualified fastest and started favourites.

But the wind entering the velodrome through its exposed sides meant the British team – made up of the trio who won in Minsk last year, Joanna Rowsell, Laura Trott and Elinor Barker, plus Katie Archibald making her World Championship debut – struggled to find their rhythm.

Canada went out fast, and by the halfway point had a lead of 1.103 seconds.

But the wind entering the velodrome through its exposed sides meant the British team – made up of the trio who won in Minsk last year, Joanna Rowsell, Laura Trott and Elinor Barker, plus Katie Archibald making her World Championship debut – struggled to find their rhythm.

At 2,500 metres, one of the Canadian women swung off, and now it was the British quartet that put in a succession of sub 16-second laps, as the Canadians had done in the first half of the race.

Hitting the bell to signify the start of the final, 250 metre lap, Great Britain were in front but had lost their shape. With Barker swinging out while on the straight, causing Trott to have to chase back on.

With the finishing time taken when the third rider crosses the line, they risked being beaten, but came through to win by 1.189 seconds.

Rowsell, quoted on the British Cycling website, said afterwards: "We were riding to our schedule in the first half of the race and our coach kept telling us we were down. We were panicking a bit, thinking it's never going to come back.

"It was just a race all the way to the line, everyone gave their all and I think we were all on our knees at the end there."

Reflecting on that final lap, Barker said: “"I just could not hold those wheels. It was so fast.

"It was a split-second decision and I haven't spoken to my coach yet about whether it was the right thing to do or not.

"I just had to get out of the way and let the girls carry on with it. It was that close that we just would've lost it if I'd stayed on the front."

It was the only medal of the night for Great Britain.

Defending champion Jason Kenny was unlucky in the Keirin final as he sought to push the leaders in the final lap but had his momentum taken away as Germany’s Max Levy drifted across him.

The Briton stayed upright but the German came down, while François Pervis of France rode on to claim the rainbow jersey, while Colombia’s Fabian Puerta got the biggest cheer of the night as he clinched silver for the home country.

Kenny said that the crash “just left me floating around at the top of the track and totally out of the race."

In other events decided last night, Australia’s Alex Edmondson won the individual pursuit, beating Swiss rider Stefan Keung in the final.

Last year’s world champion in the men’s scratch race, Ireland’s Martyn Irvine, had to settle for silver, with the race won by the Russian, Ivan Kovolev. 

During the race, Great Britain’s Jon Dibben had been in a five-man break with Irvine as they sought to close a one-lap gap on Kovolev and eventual bronze medallist King Lok Cheung of Hong Kong. Irvine was the only one of the five to get across.

Germany’s Miriam Welte, who won gold in the team sprint on Thursday, got her second of the championships in the 500m time trial, with Anna Meares of Australia second fastest to clinch silver ahead of Russia’s Anastasia Voinova.

You can watch the women’s team pursuit final here on the UCI YouTube channel, where there is also footage of the other events.

This evening’s events include the start of the women's sprint and men's Omnium as well as the women's individual pursuit, men's kilo and points race. Coverage starts at 11.20pm on the BBC Red Button and on BBC Sport online.


Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.


Some Fella [890 posts] 3 years ago

Majority of the races ive seen with GB involved ive sensed GB not really being on the money (sometimes well off it)
Have we been found out by the rest of the world?
My memory is a bit sketchy but didnt we also have a relatively poor World champs two years out/ in from the last Olympics though and we know how that turned out?
Does Team GB focus too much on the Olympic cycle that riders miss out on wearing a World Champs jerseys?

Simon_MacMichael [2502 posts] 3 years ago

As Inner Ring tweeted this morning: "Dave Brailsford's 50th birthday today/tomorrow. Born on February 29 meant an early introduction to planning for an event once every 4 years."


More seriously, this may answer your question:

2008 Beijing Olympics: GB 7 golds, Rest of World 3
2009 Worlds: GB 2 golds, Rest of World 17 (Aussies 4)
2010 Worlds: GB 3 golds, Rest of World 16 (Aussies 6)
2011 Worlds: GB 3 golds, Rest of World 16 (Aussies 7)
2012 Worlds: GB 6 golds, Rest of World 13 (Aussies 6)
2012 London Olympics: GB 7 golds, Rest of World 3
2013 Worlds: GB 5 golds, Rest of World 14

So the Aussies topped the Worlds medal table every year in the last Olympic cycle (and last year, with more total medals than GB).

But we caned them (and everyone else) in London. Okay, host nation was part of that, but also there's a strong focus on the Olympics because that's the most important criterion for UK Sport funding.

The Worlds medal table is slightly misleading from a GB perspective simply because, certainly in the last Olympic cycle, we focused heavily on the 10 Olympic events and often didn't enter riders in some or all of the others - that's almost half the medal opportunities right there.

And even in the Olympic events, there's a certain amount of experimentation and tweaking with team line-ups and which riders do the individual events, something I expect we'll see right up to Rio.

Some Fella [890 posts] 3 years ago

Great reply Simon - thanks.