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Ashes encounter is rematch of London 2012 Olympic final

Great Britain are guaranteed their first medal of the 2016 UCI Track World Championships in London tonight as they meet Australia in the final of the men’s team pursuit in a repeat of the gold medal race at London 2012 – and there could be a new World Record on the cards.

The fastest time ever achieved in the four-kilometre event, covering 16 laps of the velodrome, was set at the same venue at Lee Valley VeloPark in that Olympic final by Ed Clancy, Geraint Thomas, Steven Burke and Peter Kennaugh, with a time of 3:52:499.

Of that quartet, only Clancy, recovered from a career threatening back injury, will race tonight – and he’ll be joined by former world and Olympic champion in the event Sir Bradley Wiggins, as well as Owain Doull and Jon Dibben.

Dibben and Doull missed the semi-final against Italy, when Burke and Andy Tennant – one of five men in the squad at London 2012, but who didn’t receive a medal since he didn’t ride in any of the rounds – rode.

The Australian quartet that beat reigning world champions New Zealand in their semi-final earlier today included one rider from that London 2012 final, Michael Hepburn, who rode today's semifinal alongside Sam Welsford, Callum Scotson and Luke Davison.

Great Britain were on world record pace for much of this afternoon's race against Italy , easing off the gas to finish in 3:54.267. Australia were pushed most of the way by New Zealand, who faded in the final kilometre, and clocked a time of 3:54.029.

In the ‘Ashes’ of team pursuiting, the two countries will be all out this evening, and there’s every likelihood the record will go.

There’s live coverage now on BBC Two and Eurosport, with the race completing tonight’s programme – tune in now, or make sure you are watching it from around 8.30pm.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.