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Great Britain out of gold medal contention as Denmark smash world record

By Ian Parker, PA

Great Britain’s hopes of a top-two finish in the men’s team pursuit at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships are already over after a blistering qualifying session in Berlin, highlighted by a world record time from Denmark.

The Danish quartet of Lasse Hansen, Julius Johansen, Fredrik Madsen and Rasmus Pedersen set a time of three minutes 46.579 seconds to smash the mark of 3:48.012 set by Australia in the final of last year’s World Championships.

Britain’s quartet of Ed Clancy, Ethan Hayter, Charlie Tanfield and Ollie Wood set a time of 3:50.341, half a second faster than the ride that won them silver in Pruszkow 12 months ago.

But the rapid rate of progression from teams around the world was on full show as a nation that has won the Olympic title at each of the last three Games found themselves well off the pace – a concerning sign just a few months ahead of Tokyo.

Australia, without the injured Kelland O’Brien and having seen their world record fall, also missed out on a shot at the gold medal ride as they finished fifth in the session, behind Denmark, New Zealand, France and Italy.

Those four nations will battle it out for a place in the gold medal ride later while Britain must scrap for a shot at bronze when the competition continues with the first round later on Wednesday.

Britain’s women’s team pursuit fared much better, setting the second fastest time at 4:11.871, behind only the United States who clocked 4:11.229. The women’s competition continues on Thursday.