Great Britain’s Women’s Olympic Track Squad made history yesterday, taking Gold with a new World Record in the Team Pursuit as well as Silver in the Keirin.
The Team Pursuit squad consisted of Laura Trott, Joanna Rowsell Shand, Elinor Barker and Katie Archibald. In claiming her medal, Trott also become the first GB woman to collect her third Gold in cycling.
Since GB struggled at the World Championships in March, with the Team Pursuit riders eventually taking Bronze after a rocky qualification, fans have shared concerns that we wouldn’t see the same success as per in London’s Lee Valley velodrome in 2012. Riders didn’t let on that they had concerns, however, Jo Rowsell Shand telling us in May: “We want to win. We don’t want to go there to get a Silver or a Bronze or a fourth place. We’re Olympic champions from London, we want to get that Olympic Gold again.”
And they did it. Despite almost internal combustion at British Cycling’s HQ in the lead up, the athletes seem to have hit form right on cue.
The team beat the USA in the final, setting their second World Record of the games (having set one in qualifying also) – with a time of 4minutes 10seconds.
“It was like this machine was coming together.”
Trott said following the event: “The feeling we were getting, it was like this machine was coming together. To come away with a time of 4.10 was honestly incredible.”
Ciara Horne was the team’s fifth rider, and though disappointed not to ride in the quartet, commented later: “Heartbroken not to race at the Olympic games but I gave it my all trying to make the line up. SO proud of my teammates; Olympic champions!”
Outside of the Team Pursuit, Becky James also claimed a Silver in the Keirin, finishing just behind Elis Ligtlee of the Netherlands.
James has had a tough few years, battling her way back from career threatening injuries to take to the podium – she said: “I have had so much support from British Cycling, it has been a tough two years and I couldn’t have done it without everyone’s help.”
The men’s team has also performed excellently – with a team sprint Gold medal for Callum Skinner and Jason Kenny as well as the Team Pursuit Gold for Owain Doull, Ed Clancy, Steven Burke and Sir Bradley Wiggins. Still to come is the individual sprint final, and omnium.