Time to turn to the ladies with the Team pursuit. To increase participation we will revert back to the three-woman 3000m pursuit. There’s little point in a qualifying round so instead we’ll start with four seeded teams. These are the four countries with most individual pursuit world championships. That’s simply because the team pursuit is too young an event to give us a true sense of historical strength. The seeds are therefore the USA, GB, Netherlands and Russia. These teams will be kept apart in the first round. There are only eight entrants, mainly to keep things simple, but also because realistic contenders are few and far between
GBR (Laura Trott, Rebecca Romero, Beryl Burton) v New Zealand (Alison Shanks, Sarah Ulmer, Madonna Harris)
The Brits had a wealth of choices and were able to leave out world pursuit champ Joanna Rowsell as well as perennial medalist Wendy Houvanegal. The Kiwis were also strong with a World and an Olympic coupled with Harris, Commonwealth champ and World silver medalist in 1990. GB start out the quicker,with Trott using her speed to good effect. Ulmer tried to drag New Zealand back, but Burton and Romero resisted and the GB squad came home two seconds clear.
USA (Rebecca Twigg, Connie Carpenter, Sarah Hammer) v Australia (Kate Mactier, Katherine Bates, Kathy Watts)
The US had three super stars and they were always going to be too much for Australia who had three solid riders but no standout. The Americans went through the first kilometre a second ahead and continued to pull away, winning by 4 seconds in the end.
Netherlands (Keetie van Oosten Hage, Leontien Zijlaard van Moorsel, Ingrid Haringa) v France (Jeannie Longo, Marion Clignet, Clara Sanchez)
This looked like the best clash of the first round and it didn’t disappoint There were question marks over the third rider for each team. France had a legend, a multiple world champ and then practically no one in pursuiting terms. They therefore turned to Clara Sanchez, a kierin specialist who later turned to the Omnium but who had little to no pursuit pedigree. The Dutch one-two punch won four world titles each and they could also call upon Anne Riemersma, a three-time worlds silver medalist. But the Dutch were looking for the killer blow an so having considered Miriam Vos, turned to Harringa, arguably the greatest points racer ever and also an Olympic medalist in the sprint. Harringa and Sanchez led off and it was the Dutch lady who adapted best, helping to power her team into a clear lead after the first kilo. She also held on longer than Sanchez who left the French with just two riders at the half way mark. Longo and Clignet did their best to bring it back, but with Haringa hanging on to help, van Moorsel and van Oosten Hage were never likely the let it slip. The Dutch by 2 clear seconds.
Russia (Tamara Garkushina, Nadesja Kibardina, Oga Slyusareva) Germany v (Judith Arndt, Petra Rossner, Hannerlore Mattig)
The Russian appeared to have little weakness and there was certainly no sign of one here. The Germans put up a good fight, but the Russians were a little faster at each stage. They appeared to ease up near the end but still had nearly two seconds to spare.
USA v Russia
Two powerful squads slugged it out, but it was the Americans who kept it together better. Twigg – arguably the greatest pursuiter of all-time – was the stand out, but the seond and third strings were arguably stronger than their counterparts too. A 1.5 second margin was decisive and sent notice to potential final opponents.
GBR v Netherlands
The Dutch again went with Haringa and again she gave them a great start. her team led at half way and still had a second lead at 2k. But when the sprinter fell to the wayside, it was two greats versus three and slowly the Brits brought it back. van Moorsel made a massive effort to hold on, but Burton, Romero and Trott took it by a wheel.
Netherlands win bronze on time.
USA v GBR
One team had the best collection of pursuiters, the other has been the dominant force in the Team event. GB started well but never broke free and as the laps wore on, Twigg’s power started to make the difference. The Brits dug in, but to no avail and the Americans were crowned World All-time champs with half a second to spare.