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Page last updated at 22:36 GMT, Friday, 18 February 2011

GB women take team pursuit gold at Manchester World Cup

Track World Cup, Manchester
Venue: Manchester Velodrome Dates: 18-20 February
Coverage: Watch live all three days on BBC red button and online (UK only) and BBC Two on Sunday; full coverage details here

GB's women's pursuit team of Joanna Rowsell, Wendy Houvenaghel and Sarah Storey

GB trio triumph in team pursuit

By Marc Vesty

Great Britain women's pursuit team won the team's only gold medal on the first day of the World Cup in Manchester.

The trio of Joanna Rowsell, Wendy Houvenaghel and Sarah Storey overpowered New Zealand in a British record three minutes, 19.757 seconds.

Jason Kenny beat team-mate Sir Chris Hoy in the semi-final of the sprint, taking silver in the final behind Kevin Sireau of France, while Hoy won bronze.

Elsewhere, GB's Geraint Thomas won silver in the individual pursuit.

It was an evening when British cycling showed its strength in depth as some of the young pretenders took the chance to impress.

With only one rider per nation allowed in the individual sprint at the London Olympics, one of Olympic champion Hoy or Olympic silver medallist Kenny will miss out in 2012, which should lead to a tense year and a half of competition between the two.

After progressing through the earlier rounds with ease, the pair met in the best-of-three semi-final with Kenny beating Beijing champion Hoy comfortably in the first leg after leading from the front.

Hoy beat Kenny in the semi-final of the individual sprint
Jason rode really well and deserved that victory, but I'd have liked to see him win the final

Sir Chris Hoy

And the 22-year-old from Bolton overtook the Scot on the final lap of the second bout to set up a final meeting with Sireau, who defeated Maximilian Levy of Germany 2-0.

Kenny outpaced Sireau in the first race of the final before the world champion held the second and Kenny then lost in the decider by half a wheel length.

Meanwhile, Hoy, who went on to beat Levy 2-0 to take bronze, was philosophical about his defeat by his young team-mate.

"Every medal is hard fought, you still want to win the bronze," said Hoy. "I'm pleased with the way I raced, tactically I was sharper.

"Jason rode really well and deserved that victory, but I'd have liked to see him win it."

Paralympic champion Storey demonstrated her Olympic potential as part of Great Britain's team pursuit-winning squad as she made her British team debut.

Storey, who has the dual ambition of racing in the Olympics and Paralympics in 2012, said it was a team effort from the nine women aiming to be part of the 2012 team.

"When we move forward we're moving forward as a unit," said Storey.

"We're all riding equally as quick and this British record, almost a world record, is an indication of all the work they've put in too.

"When you've got strength in depth it pushes everyone forward and makes everyone better."

There was a shock in the women's team sprint as Victoria Pendleton and Shanaze Reade, riding for Sky Track Cycling, failed to qualify for the medal races.

The pair suffered a false start in their race and could only manage a time of 34.001, almost a second off the pace.

British duo Jess Varnish and Becky James did manage to qualify for the bronze medal race - with Varnish staking her claim to partner Pendleton after leading off with a personal best lap of 18.9.

They could not beat the French team of Sandie Clair and Clara Sanchez in their bronze medal race but their impressive performance was an indication of the strength in the women's squad.

Pendleton, who was responsible for the false start, explained: "We didn't have quite enough practice on the training front. It was one of those things. It's a learning process and this isn't the World Championships."

The Australian pair of Anna Meares and Kaarle McCullloch won the gold medal ahead of China.

In the men's individual pursuit, now a non-Olympic event, Geraint Thomas faced Australia's Rohan Dennis in the final.

Thomas went off incredibly quick, one second ahead of world record pace at the half-way stage but as he tired Dennis reeled him back in to win, finishing in 4:16.477, behind Dennis' time of 4:15.614

Thomas said: "I felt good this morning, so I went quicker and geared up but I haven't done enough, I haven't controlled it as well as I should have."

In the omnium, Ben Swift began the two-day, six-event competition by qualifying fifth in the 60-lap points race before posting the 12th fastest flying lap time. He later finish 15th in the points race, leaving him 14th overall.

After a frustrating morning, Swift came into his own in the elimination, coming second in the gruelling event after being pipped on the line by Elia Viviani, a result which sent the Briton into the second day in sixth place.

Sir Chris Hoy

Hoy misses out on sprint final

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see also
Hoy hails GB cycling team spirit
17 Feb 11 |  Cycling
Pendleton admits to 2012 pressure
17 Feb 11 |  Cycling
Injured Romero out of Manchester
14 Feb 11 |  Cycling
Wiggins returns in strong GB team
29 Jan 11 |  Cycling
Storey begins double Olympic bid
10 Feb 11 |  Cycling
Kenny claims sprint silver
18 Feb 11 |  Cycling
GB trio triumph in team pursuit
18 Feb 11 |  Cycling
Hoy misses out on sprint final
18 Feb 11 |  Cycling
Thomas takes pursuit silver
18 Feb 11 |  Cycling

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