London 2012 Olympic Men’s Team Pursuit: live updates, blog
The blue ribbon event of the track cycling program at any Olympic Games is always the team pursuit. The race of truth on the track, flat out at over 60 kilometres an hour.
A mix of tactics, technique, aerodynamics and endurance power are needed to win the gruelling race over 4000m.
Of course, the rematch between the two current powerhouses of track cycling – Australia and Great Britain – has been highly touted.
Great Britain edged Australia for the world championship in Melbourne earlier this year, despite Australia taking gold, silver and fourth in the Individual Pursuit four days later, where no Brit featured.
In winning the team pursuit the British team of Ed Clancy, Steven Burke, Peter Kennaugh and Geraint Thomas lowered the world record to 3:53.295, slashing 0.019 off their previous world record.
Given the strength of their individual performances, the Aussies should be favourites heading into the Games. They have been working hard on their technique, honing their aerodynamics in the wind tunnel and are ready to avenge their defeat in Melbourne on foreign soil.
Jack Bobridge and Michael Hepburn won’t have an individual pursuit to worry about, so they will be fresher and more focused on the team event. Glenn O’Shea will hopefully have his eye in after preparing for the omnium and the team should be rounded out well by another strong pursuit rider in Rohan Dennis.
Great Britain are the defending Olympic champions, having defeated a surprising Denmark team in Beijing, in a then-world record time of 3:53.314. Australia’s team of Bobridge, Bradley McGee, Mark Jamieson and Graeme Brown finished a disappointing fourth to New Zealand, despite being third fastest in qualifying.
Australia and Great Britain last met in a gold medal final in Athens, where Australia’s team of Graeme Brown, Brett Lancaster, Bradley McGee and Luke Roberts took the honours. The last team to win the event at an Oympics who wasn’t Australia or Great Britain was Germany in 2000.
Of the challengers to Great Britain and Australia, New Zealand are the likeliest to cause an upset, although it’s a very small chance.
They placed third in the world championships in Melbourne, ahead of Russia in fourth. However, their time was more than 4 seconds slower than GB or Australia, hence, they are not considered a genuine gold medal threat.
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