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Women’s track team on top of the world
9:29am Friday 22nd February 2013 in Sport
OLYMPIC champions Laura Trott and Dani King celebrated a third successive Track Cycling World Championships women’s team pursuit title as Elinor Barker savoured her first rainbow jersey in Minsk.
On day two, there was a second medal for Becky James, two historic medals for Ireland’s Martyn Irvine, disappointment for Britain’s men’s team sprint squad and a predictable victory for Britain’s women’s team pursuit trio.
A fifth World Championships title in six years means Trott and King are unbeaten in the three-woman, three-lap event since February 2011, when representing a junior British team at the Manchester Track World Cup.
They have won three world titles in three attempts and London 2012 Olympic gold in that time.
Barker, the 18-year-old schoolgirl from Cardiff, slotted in seamlessly to the space vacated by Joanna Rowsell, who opted to focus on the road after combining with Trott and King to clock six successive world records in winning world and Olympic gold in 2012.
The A Level student won the junior world time-trial title at the Road World Championships last September and was thrilled with adding a senior track crown.
‘‘It’s a big shock. It hasn’t really sunk in yet,’’ she said.
‘‘The junior time-trial was expected. I had been working towards it for a whole year.
‘‘I’ve done a lot of team pursuit work, but always with a view to being the best that I can be, rather than being the best in the world.’’ In the end it appeared a simple win. After qualifying almost two seconds clear of Australia, Britain finished the final in three minutes 18.140 seconds, with Annette Edmondson, Ashlee Ankudinoff and Melissa Hoskins 1.773secs adrift.
Barker has provided a fresh input into the squad and was so keen to contribute she volunteered to perform two arduous one-and-a-half-lap turns at the front of the threerider train.
Barker’s focus was on her first effort at the front.
‘‘That’s all I’ve been thinking about the last few days: control that first turn and then the rest of the ride will come,’’ she said.
The event was added to the World Championships programme in 2008 and Britain have won every time apart from in Copenhagen in 2010.
With the event poised to increase to 4km and four riders after this competition, Barker is likely to be an integral member of the squad for years to come.
While many athletes have spoken of a London 2012 hangover, Trott, double Olympic champion and defending her world omnium title this weekend, dismissed the suggestion.
‘‘No way,’’ said Trott, who will not be 21 until April.
‘‘Who wouldn’t want to win another stripy jumper?’’ Three-time Olympic champion Jason Kenny, Trott’s boyfriend, missed out on adding a world title in the men’s team sprint as Britain finished sixth.
Philip Hindes, Kenny and Kian Emadi clocked 44.270secs as Germany’s Rene Enders, Stefan Botticher and Maximilian Levy won gold in 43.495. New Zealand were second and France third.
James, who won women’s team sprint bronze with Vicky Williamson on day one, added an individual third place in the women’s 500m time-trial.
The 21-year-old from Abergavenny was the first to ride and set the standard of 34.133, a personal best, but Hong Kong’s Lee Wai Sze won in 33.973 and Miriam Welte of Germany was second in 33.996.