British women complete stunning pursuit title defence as Netherlands Ligtlee wins keirin gold
The world’s two fastest women's pursuit teams, USA and Great Britain, locked horns for gold at the Rio 2016 velodrome on 13 August, each having set a new world record earlier in the day.
First, in their heat against Australia, the Americans, led by Sarah Hammer, had lowered the mark to 12.282 a full second faster than the record set by the British quartet a day earlier; but their place in the history books lasted a matter of minutes as the British then reduced it further to 4:12.152 in the following heat.
In the final, the anticipated close battle turned into a romp for Great Britain as they swept aside their American rivals, setting yet another world record, and matching the achievement of their male counterparts the day before.
After trailing early on the British quartet of Laura Trott, Katie Archibald, Elinor Barker and Joanna Rowsell-Shand cranked up the pace to devastating effect, winning in 4:10.236 -- nearly two seconds quicker than the world record they set in the heats, and half a second faster than the American quartet could manage in the final.
It was a third Olympic gold for 24-year-old Trott, who won gold in both the team pursuit and omnium at London 2012.
“I couldn't be more proud of our team. It was about four individuals riding around as one. I've never been in a team that feels so seamless,” said Trott, who will later attempt to take her gold medal count to four with a successful defence of her omnium title. “We broke the world record in training so we knew a world record was on the cards in the qualifier. To come away with a time of 4.10 was honestly incredible.”
Canada secured only its second Olympic medal in women's track cycling, beating New Zealand for bronze.
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