The British quartet of Ed Clancy, Geraint Thomas, Steven Burke and Peter Kennaugh demolished Australia and their own world record to defend the men's Olympic team pursuit gold medal they won four years ago in Beijing and send the home crowd into a state of wild delirium.
David Bowie's "Heroes" blasted out over the tannoy as fans at the packed Velodrome clapped the gold medallists on a lap of honour after they shaved almost a second of the previous record set on Thursday.
New Zealand beat Russia to the bronze medal in a time of 3:55.952.
Kennaugh was proud of his team’s effort on a memorable night. “It’s absolutely amazing,” said the 23-year-old.
“It’s a team event but I’ve really got to take my hat off to Ed and (Steven) Burkey – they are the quickest two by far and we couldn’t have done it without them. Absolutely amazing, I’m over the moon.”
And Thomas, part of the victorious team in Beijing, is delighted to add to his Olympic tally and revealed the coaching team have been working them from as early as last year for today’s event.
“The amount of work we’ve had to go through. In November we were in the track in Manchester at half past seven in the morning,” said the Welshman – who is also a triple champion in the World Championships team pursuit.
“They stopped us going to see a Rihanna concert in November.
“They’ve been on our backs since then to finish it off. It’s amazing – I was ill last week and mentally it’s been really hard actually trying to get back to where I was.
“Without these boys I couldn’t have done it – we all buzzed off each other. It was incredible and the crowd were unbelievable my ears are ringing.”
On a great night inside a packed out Velodrome Team GB started their campaign for the first-ever women’s team pursuit gold medal in a triumphant manner by qualifying fastest for tomorrow’s finals.
The team of Laura Trott, Dani King and Joanna Rowsell posted a new world record time of 3:15.669 minutes to top the timing sheets ahead of USA.
They will now go into the next round full of confidence of claiming the historic gold – after qualifying nearly four seconds faster than their nearest rival.
They will face Canada in their first round match on Saturday, with the winner going on to face either the United States or Australia in the gold-medal final.
In the inaugural running of this event in the Games, Canada and then the United States took it in turns to set Olympic records before the British team took to the track, backed by a raucous home crowd.
They quickly set about eating into the split times of the then leading US, before finishing almost four seconds clear of their nearest rival.
- Peter Kennaugh
- Geraint Thomas
- Ed Clancy