Pur­suit team on a roll at worlds

Townsville Bulletin - - The Form -

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.’’

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