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Trott wins scratch race gold for GB

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2016 Track Cycling World Championships
Venue: Lee Valley VeloPark, London Dates: 2-6 March
Coverage: Live BBC coverage on TV, radio and online. Click for listings.

Laura Trott claimed gold for Great Britain at the Track Cycling World Championships in London as Sir Bradley Wiggins and the British men’s pursuit team had to settle for silver.

Trott won GB’s first gold of the event as she beat the Netherlands’ Kirsten Wild and Canada’s Stephanie Roorda.

Australia dramatically beat Britain’s men’s pursuit team in the final.

But Becky James put three years of injury problems behind her with a bronze for GB in the keirin race.

The 2013 double world champion finished behind Germany’s Kristina Vogel, while Australia’s Anna Meares took silver.

And despite missing out on gold, Wiggins said he would “put my house” on GB claiming the Olympic title in Rio this August.

Trott makes it six world titles

It was Trott, though, who caught the eye with a thrilling finish in the women’s scratch race.

With five laps remaining, the double Olympic champion seemed out of contention, but the 23-year-old held her nerve to win a sixth career World Championship gold.

“When I was in the race I wasn’t feeling that good,” said Trott.

“But it worked out perfectly for me. I’m so happy. I let everybody get on with it and raced my own race.”

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Trott’s victory softened the blow she and her team-mates suffered in the women’s team pursuit earlier in the afternoon. A ragged ride in qualifying means the quartet can finish no better than third on Friday.

Trott, Elinor Barker, Ciara Horne and Joanna Rowsell Shand clocked four minutes 21.034 seconds, the fifth-fastest time in qualifying.

It is usually an event Britain can bank on for success, winning six of the previous eight world titles, but they can now only ride off for bronze. The USA qualified fastest, followed by Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

Wiggins denied by Australians

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In the men’s team pursuit Wiggins, Ed Clancy, Owain Doull and Jon Dibben, who clocked 3:53.856, had dragged themselves back into contention after a blistering start from Australia, but lost by 1.129 seconds to their perennial rivals.

In the final track competition before the Olympics, the victory is a psychological boost for the Australians.

Both teams will be aware that en route to winning Olympic gold in 2008 and 2012, Britain had also claimed the world title that year.

But the return to the line-up of Clancy – the team’s strongest rider and a man Wiggins sees as “irreplaceable” – was a boost for the team.

Twelve weeks ago Clancy was unable to walk after back surgery and his astonishing recovery led his team-mate Doull to this week describe him as a “freak of nature”.

And Wiggins believes despite the defeat, the British riders will enjoy a change of fortune in Rio: “I’ll put my house on it, I’ll say we’ll win in Rio now. I’m confident and I just think we will.

“Look at our efforts individually from Christmas to where we are now. We’ve come on leaps and bounds and I think we’ll move on again for Rio.”

James’ impressive comeback

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Welsh rider James, 23, also impressed in a performance which promised much ahead of Rio.

The 2013 double world champion had previously said she wondered whether she would ride again after a series of injuries and a cancer scare, so progressing to the final in London was deemed a success.

She rode astutely to finish behind favourite Vogel, who won her seventh world title, and reigning Olympic champion Meares.

“It just doesn’t feel real, I’m just over the moon to be back,” said James.

“It’s been a tough road, the World Cups were tough for me this winter, but just to be back has been so good. I’ve seen improvements week in week out and managed to pull it out today.”

Analysis

Sir Chris Hoy, winner of six Olympic golds and BBC Sport cycling expert: “That was a gold medal winning performance from Becky James, that was the best she could have hoped for.

“She didn’t have the form, she hung in there, defended well and didn’t panic. That is way beyond what she was expecting, what the team was expecting.”

Chris Boardman, Olympic cycling champion and BBC Sport summariser: “For the men’s pursuit there was half a lap to go and I think it was Ed Clancy who just couldn’t do it. It was a fast time by both teams, but the Australians were just consistent all the way through and had that extra depth.

“I was pleased with the way Britain managed their problems, but it wasn’t enough.”

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BBC Sport – Cycling

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