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Page last updated at 16:47 GMT, Sunday, 20 February 2011

British pursuit team power to gold at 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 men's pursuit team on track in Manchester

GB pursuit team take gold

By Marc Vesty

Britain's pursuit team powered to gold with a dominant display at the World Cup in Manchester.

The line-up of Bradley Wiggins, Geraint Thomas, Ed Clancy and Steven Burke put on a show to beat New Zealand, going 2.124 seconds off the world record.

Meanwhile, British trio Jason Kenny, Sir Chris Hoy and Matt Crampton won bronze in the team sprint.

In the keirin, Victoria Pendleton picked up her second bronze medal behind winner Guo Shuang of China.

For the pursuit team, it is likely to be the last time they compete together until winter, with Bradley Wiggins and Geraint Thomas likely to head back out on the road with Team Sky for the spring classics and the grand tours.

But they signed off in style, sending out a message to their potential Olympic opponents by setting the fifth-fastest time ever of three minutes 55.471 seconds - just off the world record of 3.53.314 set by a GB team containing Wiggins, Thomas, Clancy and Paul Manning at the Beijing Olympics.

Although Wiggins will head back out on the road, the three-time Olympic champion said he still has London 2012 in the back of his mind.

Victoria Pendleton
I was lacking a bit of top end speed but fortunately speed is quite easy to build on

Victoria Pendleton

"We're the Olympic champions and we're going to defend that title and we've got to be the favourites," said Wiggins.

"People forget about us sometimes and think the Aussies are coming up.

"If anyone wants to come along and try and get close to us, like the Aussies are, that only pushes us and keeps us on our toes.

"I'm actually a little bit disappointed in the time, which sounds ridiculous. We've just done a 3:55 but I'm a bit surprised we didn't go a bit faster.

"This morning felt so easy but two rides like that in a day in February is fantastic. It's a real step forward for London next year."

With four weeks to go until the World Championships, which begin on 23 March in Apeldoorn, the World Cup was a good opportunity for GB's stars to test themselves against the world's best.

It has been a frustrating weekend for Pendleton, who did not qualify for the team sprint medal races along with team-mate Shanaze Reade on Friday. The World and Olympic champion had to settle for bronze in the sprint on Saturday before taking the same coloured medal in Sunday's keirin.

But she believes having the pressure of being favourite lifted at the World Championships in the Netherlands could work in her favour.

"I didn't want to put too much pressure on myself coming into this, it's all about 2012," said Pendleton, who will hope to compete in all three events in London.

"You have to put things into perspective. It's all about the long-term objective. It's almost a relief not to be going into a Worlds as favourite now.

"It's probably going to work in my favour, letting me get my head down in training over the next four weeks.

"I was lacking a bit of top end speed but fortunately speed is quite easy to build on, four weeks is a lot of time.

"I'm going to be doing a lot of race-specific stuff in training and hopefully there's a lot more to gain."

Fellow Briton Becky James was third behind Lithuania's Simona Krupeckaite in the minor final of the keirin to take ninth place overall but Jess Varnish missed out in the repechage.

In the men's team sprint, Kenny, Hoy and Crampton were forced to ride for third place against Australian trade squad Team Jayco AIS after qualifying behind Germany and eventual winners France.

And the trio will need to find more power prior to the Worlds after recording a time of 44.087 seconds in their bronze medal race = half a second off the French team of Gregory Bauge, Kevin Sireau and Michael D'Almeida, who beat Germany in 43.534 to take gold.

It was Olympic champion Hoy's third medal of the World Cup after taking bronze in the sprint and gold in the keirin on Saturday.

Hoy rode in the second-man position for the Sky Track Cycling team and was optimistic about the trio's potential.

"We would have loved to have won today but we were beaten by the better teams," said Hoy.

"But that doesn't mean we won't be ready in London in 12 months time.

"These things come out of nowhere. It's about getting all three riders to come in, bang on, on the same day."

Hoy's team-mate Kenny, who beat the Scot to silver in the individual sprint on Friday, led off in the man-one position and was similarly positive.

"As a team it came together really well, it looks tidy," said Kenny, who won Olympic gold in the team sprint with Hoy and Jamie Staff in 2008.

"I thought I could have given them a bit more time in the first lap but there's not much wrong with it technically I don't think."

Kenny narrowly missed out on the 15,000 euro prize in the Japanese Keirin won by Maxamillain Levy of Germany, who also held off the Netherland's Teun Mulder.

Elsewhere, American Sarah Hammer completed her complete domination of the women's omnium, finishing third in the final event, the 500m Time Trial to take gold overall. GB's Lizzie Armitstead finished 7th overall.

Victoria Pendleton finishes third

Pendleton wins keirin bronze

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see also
GB show signs of Olympic promise
20 Feb 11 |  Cycling
Classy Hoy wins World Cup gold
19 Feb 11 |  Cycling
GB women take team pursuit gold
18 Feb 11 |  Cycling
GB trio triumph in team pursuit
18 Feb 11 |  Cycling
Kenny claims sprint silver
18 Feb 11 |  Cycling
Hoy misses out on sprint final
18 Feb 11 |  Cycling
Thomas takes pursuit silver
18 Feb 11 |  Cycling
Hoy hails GB cycling team spirit
17 Feb 11 |  Cycling
Wiggins returns in strong GB team
29 Jan 11 |  Cycling

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