British cyclists peak for Olympics once more with gold in men’s team sprint

British trio edge New Zealand with new Olympic record - as France take bronze

 Philip Hindes of Britain celebrates after winning gold in Rio de Janeiro. Photograph: David Ramos/Getty Images

Philip Hindes of Britain celebrates after winning gold in Rio de Janeiro. Photograph: David Ramos/Getty Images

 

Jason Kenny, Phil Hindes and Callum Skinner won Britain’s third successive Olympic gold in the men’s team sprint on Wednesday.

Britain’s three-man, three-lap team sprint squad have a habit of peaking every four years and did so again as Kenny claimed his fourth Olympic gold.

Britain have not won a world title in the discipline since 2005, but have now won gold at the 2008, 2012 and now 2016 Olympics.

The British trio clocked 42.440 seconds, an Olympic record, to claim gold, just five months after finishing sixth in the world at the Track World Championships in London.

New Zealand’s Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and Ed Dawkins, the world champions, had to settle for silver in 42.542secs, just 0.102 behind.

Bronze went to France in 43.143.

The performance of the team sprint squad was something of a surprise.

They came from nowhere to triumph four years ago in London, as Chris Hoy claimed the fifth of his six Olympic golds, and repeated the trick in Rio after finishing a lowly sixth at March’s Track World Championships in the English capital.

Hindes, Kenny — champions with Hoy four years ago — and Skinner set an Olympic record in qualifying, but the standard was overtaken by New Zealand, who finished their first round in 42.535.

However, the British trio won the duel for gold. Hindes was narrowly behind after his lap, but Kenny pushed the team in front and Skinner held on.

One event, one gold medal for the nation which won seven out of 10 track titles in Beijing and London.

It was the day’s only medal event, but there was further good news for Britain. Bradley Wiggins, Ed Clancy, Steven Burke and Owain Doull qualified fastest in the four-man, four-kilometres team pursuit.

They finished in 3:51.943. The world record, set in winning gold at London 2012, is 3:51.659.

The first round and final take place on Friday’s second day of action, where Wiggins is sure to be the focus.

He had a dispute with commissaires on Thursday ahead of the qualification ride, when officials summoned him to measure his height.

In the corresponding women’s event, which resumes and concludes on Saturday, Laura Trott, Joanna Rowsell Shand, Elinor Barker and Katie Archibald advanced in a world record time, clocking 4:13.260.

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