Mixed start for Brits at London World Cup

GB’s squads shared mixed fortunes in the team events at the second World Cup of the season in London. As usual, the team pursuit girls headed qualifying, though the margin to second-placed Australia was unusually small – just 0.092 seconds. We’ll see if they were saving anything in the ridiculous “first round” tonight. The Welsh Usn team struggled a little after a bright start, with Ellie Coster, Manon Lloyd, Emily Kay and Amy Roberts – who last month featured in the winning GB team – ending in 16th place.

The men’s team pursuit also qualified comfortably, though at 4:02.373 they were nearly two seconds off the Australians in what were clearly quite slow conditions. They also go again in the first round tonight.

The sprinters had a much tougher time of it. The men’s team sprint could manage only 7th. Phil Hindes led off as usual with a 17.588 – someway off his best, but good enough for fourth fastest here – before Jason Kenny let loose a 12.835, second fastest behind the French on the day. But Callum Skinner struggled on lap 3, posting just the 18th best lap at 14.088.

Cyclostats does not know if the Scot had a problem, but clearly he should be faster that that. He’s been close to 10-flat for the 200 in Manchester and his kilo is rapidly improving, with a 60.125 at altitude and a 62 point showing in Guadalupe which suggested he’d be close to 61-flat on a normal track. Looking at what others with those sorts of credentials have posted for the third lap, you’d think Skinner should be around 13.2.. GB needed at 13.4 to make the gold medal race in London.

As for the women, they fared slightly better, finishing 5th in 33.632. GB experimented with shifting Victoria Williamson to man 1, where she was 8th quickest at 19.283 before Jess Varnish went 14.339 – third fastest of the round. Varnish was close to her best of 14.312 and Williamson has been quicker only at altitude, all of which shows just how much GB need Becky James back for Rio.

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