Tokyo Olympics: Laura Kenny and GB team qualify for women’s team pursuit

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Laura Kenny and the GB team qualified for the women’s team pursuit with the second fastest time – after Germany broke the world record by almost THREE seconds











The GB team remains on track to retain their gold medal in the women’s team pursuit after qualifying for the first round with the second fastest time.

Germany set a breathtaking pace early in qualifying after breaking the world record by almost three seconds with a time of 4: 07.307.

Laura Kenny predicted ahead of the Games that the 10.236-second four-minute mark she set alongside Elinor Barker, Katie Archibald and Joanna Rowsell Shand would fall “three or four times” this week.

Britons Katie Archibald, Laura Kenny, Elinor Barker and Josie Knight comfortably advance to the first round of the team pursuit after finishing second in qualifying

However, they passed out in the final 1000m as they sought to outshine Germany's breathtaking weather.

However, they passed out in the final 1000m as they sought to outshine Germany’s breathtaking weather.

Kenny, Archibald, Barker and Josie Knight’s side set off at an excellent pace in an attempt to eclipse Germany’s time, but despite a brilliant start struggled late before finishing second.

Their time of 4: 09.022 was almost two seconds over Germany, having led the first 3000m before fatigue set in on the last 1000m.

Nevertheless, the recorded time broke the previous world record they set five years ago in Rio and hopes remain high to be able to retain their Olympic title in Tokyo.

Archibald admitted that despite an impressive time, they were still disappointed with the result.

Germany broke team GB's Rio world record by almost three seconds to qualify fastest

Germany broke team GB’s Rio world record by almost three seconds to qualify fastest

“We are happy with the time, not the result,” she told the BBC. “We thought we would be right on the long side of what the Germans did and just found out we didn’t have it in that last mile.”

Knight, who was making his Olympic debut, believes the team has even more potential to unlock.

She added: “I was incredibly nervous – I’m with three reigning Olympic champions. We rode well, but I think we have more in the tank.

Barker was also positive, insisting that Great Britain could be happy with their time despite losing the record.

The fastest four teams advance to the first round heats that pave the way for a gold medal

The fastest four teams advance to the first round heats which pave the way for a gold medal

“It was really good,” she said, seeing Germany go so fast so fast. “All the girls said the same thing. We knew the world record was going to be broken.

“We expected it to be the Australians or the Americans, so for that to happen when we weren’t looking, we didn’t need to worry too much because the worst had happened.

“We can be really, really happy. It’s important to remember that the time we spent in Rio was with two teams on the track, which is worth a few seconds, so going that fast with one team shows how much we’ve won. I think we were about a second faster so being able to do it on our own is a big step.

“It’s just a shame that Germany was so much faster, but I think we can be happy with that.

“I hope (Germany can be beaten). They haven’t always been the most consistent, but then again, we haven’t really seen them in a year and a half, so maybe this is something they’ve been working on. It will certainly be interesting.

Britain will now face the United States in the first round on Tuesday morning for a place in the Olympic final

Britain will now face the United States in the first round on Tuesday morning for a place in the Olympic final

The GB team qualified as one of the fastest four teams and will now face the United States, which finished third in the first round on Tuesday, with the winner advancing to the gold medal final.

The reigning world champions USA also rode faster than Rio’s record with a time of 4: 10.118.

Britain will also have confidence in beating the Americans, who won gold ahead of them at the world championships in Berlin last year.

The Americans were once again anchored by Chloe Dygert, the individual pursuit champion who propelled them to gold in Berlin.

The 24-year-old was troubled by injuries from a horror crash last year as she struggled in the road time trial here on Wednesday, but looked much stronger on Track.

Germany will face Italy in the other round of the first round to reach the gold medal final.


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