Team GB are firmly in contention for a gold medal after qualifying in the second fastest time in the women’s team pursuit on Monday, as Laura Kenny goes in search of a fifth gold medal on the track.
The opening day of action in the velodrome at the Tokyo Olympic Games got off to a blistering start as Germany smashed the world record over the distance to go into Tuesday’s final as favourites.
But the British team of Katie Archibald, Elinor Barker, Kenny and Josie Knight went close to bettering the German team, qualifying second with a time that would have also beaten the previous world record.
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“Good lord, what a way to open up,” exclaimed Carlton Kirby on commentary. “First session of cycling and we’ve seen a world record fall already.”

Germany's Lisa Brennauer celebrates after setting a World Record with teammates during the women's track cycling team pursuit qualifying event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Izu Velodrome in Izu, Japan, on August 2, 2021

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The women’s team pursuit world record had stood since Team GB’s blistering time at the Rio Olympics five years ago. And one member of that British quartet, two-time Olympic pursuit champion Jo Rowsell, was on commentary for Eurosport.
“That is incredible, they had to go out, they had to go big as it was a relatively early qualification spot, and they are delighted with that,” Rowsell said.
“It’s brilliant to see the event progressing. This was first in the Olympics back in 2012 for women and we only raced three kilometres with three riders back then (Rowsell still holds the 3km world record). I think they didn’t think there’d be enough strength in depth in women’s cycling for four riders for 4km.

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“It’s great to see the event progressing, teams investing in their women’s squad, in their female riders and developing riders.
Records are there to be broken and I want to see this event progress.
"That is blistering, and qualification times are always a bit slower than final times as well, so how low can that record go?”

Laura Kenny, Katie Archibald, Elinor Barker and Josie Knight of Team Great Britain sprint during the Women's team pursuit qualifying of the Track Cycling on day 10 of the Tokyo Olympics 2021 games at Izu Velodrome on August 02, 2021 in Izu, Shizuoka, Jap

Image credit: Getty Images

Team GB were ahead of world record pace until the final lap and a half of their ride, with Archibald setting an outrageous pace out of the blocks. But the British squad faded late on to drop into the second qualifying spot.
The final is scheduled for Tuesday.
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