World Track Championships
Venue: Apeldoorn, Netherlands Dates: 23-27 March
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Team pursuit gold for GB's women
Great Britain's women's team pursuit trio produced a superb performance to win the gold medal at the track cycling World Championships in Netherlands.
Wendy Houvenaghel, 36, took her third title, well supported by Laura Trott, 18, and Dani King, 20, both competing in their first World Championships.
Britain surged clear and finished in three minutes 23.419 seconds with the Americans trailing in 3:25.308.
In the team sprint final, Britain took silver behind winners Australia.
British duo Victoria Pendleton and Jessica Varnish had qualified in second place but were unable to prevent Australia taking a third successive gold.
Britain clocked 33.525 but the dominant Australian pairing of Anna Meares and Kaarle McCulloch triumphed in a time of 33.237.
Pendleton and Varnish miss out on team sprint gold
The British pair were in optimistic mood, however, and Pendleton said: "We've got the right ingredients right here, with a bit more work and focus we'll be smiling I hope.
"I was pleased to see we really pushed the Australians, Anna Meares has a consistent 18.8-second lap and it's going to take time to get there, but if anyone can do it I'm sure Jess can do it.
"For such a young athlete - making myself sound all old - I'm really pleased with her progress and dedication.
"In the last four weeks since the World Cup in Manchester I feel I've made some big improvements. I feel a lot more confident and this has shown I'm going in the right direction."
Varnish, 20, added: "It's great to be in the team with Vicky. I don't really worry about having the Olympic champion in my team, it'd be a lot of pressure if I started to worry about that.
"It's really important to go under 19 seconds on this track, you never know what you're going to do when you haven't ridden it before. I've got to keep building on that now."
The team pursuit trio had set the fastest qualifying time with 3:23.642 as King and Trott gelled with Houvenaghel encouragingly. Despite being relatively newly formed the line up still looked strong without the injured Lizzie Armitstead, who had a thigh strain, while regular Joanna Rowsell, multiple paralympic champion Sarah Storey and Olympic champion Rebecca Romero had been overlooked.
Veteran Houvenaghel was delighted with the way her team pulled together.
We put everything into it, did our best ride and the result came. It's another step forward to London and 2012
"It's such a relief in some respects but it was a great ride and we worked so well together as a team," she enthused.
"I'm so glad we've come away with the gold medal this time. Everyone brings different attributes to this event, it's a team event, and a mixture of endurance and sprint really works.
"I'm so pleased and it's a real privilege to have ridden with these two girls and get that rainbow jersey again."
King looked ahead with confidence to the London Olympics next year after the impressive victory and added: "I didn't imagine this would happen, it's been a whirlwind for me. I couldn't have done it without the other two, it's fantastic.
"We've been working so hard over the last four or five months, we put everything into it, did our best ride and the result came. It's another step forward to London and 2012."
In the men's individual sprint Sir Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny safely negotiated the early knock-out rounds before Olympic champion Hoy defeated Robert Forstemann 2-0 in the quarter-final to advance to tomorrow's semi-finals.
Olympic silver medal winner Kenny saw off the challenge of Australia's Shane Perkins 2-1 and will face Hoy in the semi-final on Friday.
Matt Crampton was beaten by team-mate Kenny in the second round and was eliminated in the repechage.
Gregory Bauge will meet France team-mate Mickael Bourgain in the second semi-final, meaning a Briton will race for gold in the sprint in Friday's evening session.
Meanwhile, the non-Olympic men's individual pursuit was won by world record holder Jack Bobridge of Australia in four minutes 21.141 secs.
Endurance rider Ed Clancy will not defend his ominium world title after withdrawing from the Championships because of illness.
The 26-year-old had already pulled out of Great Britain's bronze medal-winning ride in the men's team pursuit after struggling in qualifying.
Sam Harrison, who replaced him in the pursuit, will now represent GB in the men's omnium on Friday and Saturday.
Harrison, 18, won the event at the Beijing World Cup in January.