The Aussie quartet of Leigh Howard, Sam Welsford, Kelland O'Brien and Alex Porter took gold with a 3:48.012 clocking over four kilometres, shaving 1.8 seconds off the previous best. Denmark took bronze.
GB’s Ed Clancy, Charlie Tanfield, Kiane Madi and Ethan Hayter finished just outside the old mark in 3:50.810, but they never looked like mounting a comeback and face a serious task to bridge the gap by Tokyo 2020.
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It was the same outcome in the women’s race, albeit without a record, as Australia toppled Britain in Thursday’s final event.
The Antipodeans looked like they might throw away victory in the closing stages as their formation threatened to collapse, but they held on to win by 0.2 seconds. New Zealand claimed the bronze medal.
GB had four-time Olympic champion Laura Kenny in their ranks, but the 26-year-old and team-mates Elinor Barker, Katie Archibald and Eleanor Dickinson were unable to match the Aussie foursome of Ashlee Ankudinoff, Georgia Baker, Amy Cure and Annette Edmondson.
It creates an intriguing storyline ahead of next year’s Olympics between the two great cycling nations, with Australia seeking a first team pursuit title since Athens 2004. GB have swept the lot in the previous three Games.
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