Pursuit team on a roll at worlds
CATCH us if you can. Australia’s lethal men’s pursuit team left its rivals grasping for answers with a peerless performance on the opening night of the track cycling world titles in The Netherlands.
In a deafening warning s h o t b e f o r e n e x t y e a r ’ s London Olympics, the young foursome of Jack Bobridge, R o h a n D e n n i s , L u k e D u r b r i d g e a n d Mi c h a e l H e p b u r n t o r c h e d t h e R u s s i a n s i n Wed n e s d a y night’s final.
British coach Shane Sutton claimed beforehand that his men were poised to provide a ‘‘ bit of a shock’’ to the Australians i n t he blueriband event.
However it was more like a bucket of cold water was poured on the 2012 Olympic hosts as they qualified third and missed the final.
After just eclipsing Britain at last year’s world titles in Copenhagen, the Australians crossed the line in the final a l m o s t f o u r - a n d - a - h a l f seconds ahead of Russia in a time of 3 minutes and 57.832 seconds.
There had been concerns raised about the speed of the track in Apeldoorn but that did not bother the impressive Australian quartet, aged 21 and under.
Russia ( 4: 02.229) briefly took the lead about a third of the way through the race but that seemed to stir the Australians to step up the pace and blow away their rivals.
Following their dominance on the track at the Beijing Olympics, there has been an air of confidence in Britain that the 2012 hosts are poised to repeat the feat on home soil next year.
But Peter Kennaugh, a member of their bronzemedal winning team on Wednesday night, said the reigning Olympic champions had some work to do.
‘‘ The Aussies . . . we’ll have to work really hard to get back on terms with them,’’ he said. ‘‘ It’s super hard.’’