The women’s team pursuit team and the men’s sprint team kicked off Britain’s Olympic medal race in track cycling on a dramatic second day at the Izu Velodrome in Tokyo.
The two teams each collected silver medals on an eventful evening filled with world and Olympic records.
This brought the British cycling team’s medal count at the Tokyo Games to seven, although there was a disappointment in the men’s team pursuit when the British team were involved in a disastrous accident during their race. first round.
The women’s team pursuit team, consisting of Katie Archibald, Laura Kenny, Neah Evans and Josie Knight, rode superbly and broke the world record by beating the United States in the first round earlier in the day, with a time of 4: 06.748.
Germany, however, regained the world record they set on Monday in the very next round of the 4000m, 16-lap race, setting up an exciting final race for the gold medal against the Brits.
GB had a good first lap, but the Germans quickly passed them and eventually won gold, erasing their own world record, with a time of 4: 04.249. The United States beat Canada for bronze.
âIt’s really special to be here,â said Evans. âWe are reigning champions, there are high expectations for British cycling because we have such a strong reputation, but there are so many strong nations that have fought it out. It was not to be this time around. , but we’ll be back in Paris. “
His teammate Kenny added: âGermany took everyone by surprise. We knew they were going to go fast, but not so fast.
In the men’s sprint competition, the British team of Ryan Owens, Jack Carlin and Jason Kenny rode superbly in their qualifying and opening laps, based on Owens’ dazzling first laps.
In their first-round race against Germany, the British won by setting a new Olympic record of 41.829 which the Netherlands broke in the next round, with 41.431 to establish the gold final between the two notable teams. .
In the final, GB got off to their usual quick start, but struggled to keep their next two riders together as the Dutch rushed to win, with a new Olympic record of 41.369.
The consolation of Kenny’s silver medal was that he joined Sir Bradley Wiggins with eight career Olympic medals – the most ever won by a British athlete.
âIt was really good,â Kenny said. âWe put our hearts into the second race to get into the final and then we rolled the dice.
âWe knew we had some ground to catch up and I had nothing in the final. I sucked but we tried so hard to get there. It’s really special. Every time you come back it gets harder. “
The men’s team pursuit competition began with the retirement of veteran star Ed Clancy, due to recurring injury, and announced his retirement from the Olympic team in the process.
Traveling reserve Charlie Tanfield stepped in to replace him and joined Ethan Hayter, Ethan Vernon and Ollie Wood in a British formation which faced Denmark in the final round of the first round.
Italy set a new world record in the previous round, clocking 3: 42.307, but that was nothing compared to the drama to come when Great Britain faced Denmark.
Late in the race, as the Danes were ready to catch up with GB third rider Tanfield, their first man Frederik Madsen slammed into him, leaving it to the marshals to determine who would qualify for the gold medal race on Wednesday .
After much deliberation, it was ruled that Denmark had caught up with the British and allowed to qualify to face Italy in the gold medal final.