Team GB women strike gold at the Worlds

Houvenaghel, Armitstead and Rowsell take top spot in team pursuit

by Dave Atkinson   March 27, 2009  

Wendy Houvenaghel world track champs 09 © Photosport Intl

Team GB finally struck gold in the velodrome last night as the women's pursuit team of Wendy Houvenaghel, Jo Rowsell and Liz Armitstead overcame a strong challenge from the New Zealand team of Ellis, Neilsen and individual gold medallist Shanks to take the crown in a time of 3:22.720, a second ahead of their opponents.

It was nip and tuck stuff throughout the race with the gap as little as 0.13s coming into the last lap of kilometre two, but the superior technique of the GB train allowed them to pull away over the last four laps to secure what was in the end a fairly comfortable victory as predicted by Houvenaghel the night before.

Defending their title from last year, Shanaze Reade and Victoria Pendleton had to settle for silver as they were edged out by Anna Meares and Kaarle McCulloch who finished in a world record time of 33.149. Meares went off like a train, putting a full half a second into Reade on the first lap and after that there was no coming back, even for Pendleton who managed to halve the deficit over the last 250m.

The Men's Keirin ended in disappointment as Matt Crampton and Ross Edgar, who both had to come through repechage to make it to the final, finished just outside the medals in fourth and fifth places. Crampton, who was drawn in last position, gave it a go, coming over the top with two laps to go and trying to stay out. Edgar will be more disappointed however as he was never really in the race despite his strong showings in the Keirin over the last couple of years.

Mark Cavendish was back in action on the track which is a boost for team GB considering that he told the Observer Sports Monthly last year that his track career was over. He fought hard in the Scratch race but finished a lap down in seventh. The other final of the day, the men's individual pursuit, was steamrollered by Taylor Phinney (USA) as expected.