IZU (REUTERS) – Germany dethroned Britain’s women as queens of the Olympic track team pursuit in sensational fashion with an emphatic victory in the final on Tuesday (Aug 3) in yet another world record.
The German quartet of Franziska Brausse, Lisa Brennauer, Lisa Klein and Mieke Kroeger almost caught Britain in the 4km final at the Izu Velodrome, finishing in 4min 04.242sec.
Britain had won the two previous golds in the discipline introduced to the women’s track programme at Beijing in 2008.
An incredible afternoon of action had seen Britain, led by four-time Olympic track champion Laura Kenny, reclaim the world record that Germany had obliterated in Monday’s qualifiers.
But Germany broke the world record again shortly afterwards and then went even faster in the final.
The United States took the bronze medal.
In the men’s team pursuit, Britain’s reign as masters of the event ended when they were crushed by world champions Denmark in a dramatic heat at the Izu Velodrome.
With three-time gold medal winner Ed Clancy having pulled out injured on the morning of the race, Britain were always up against it and they were no match for the Danes.
The heat finished in chaotic fashion, though, as Denmark’s lead man Frederik Madsen caught Clancy’s replacement Charlie Tanfield, who had fallen off the pace.
If a team are caught that usually ends the contest but incredibly Madsen ploughed into the back of Tanfield with both riders crashing to the floor and there was confusion all around about what that meant in terms of the rules.
The result was eventually confirmed by cycling’s world governing body UCI, with the Danes moving into the gold medal decider against Italy scheduled for Wednesday.
There was no confusion, however, for Italy as they broke Denmark’s world record in a scintillating heat against New Zealand who also went below the mark set by the Danes in 2020.
Italy’s winning time for the 4km race was 3:42.307 with New Zealand fractionally behind in 3:42.397.
Britain won the last three Olympic gold medals in the team pursuit.
The crash was not the only intrigue as Britain’s performance director Stephen Park said he had complained to race organisers the UCI about tape the Danish riders wore on their legs in Monday’s qualifiers.
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