PRUSZKOW, Poland (Reuters) - Australia smashed their own world record to win the men’s team pursuit gold at the track cycling world championships ahead of Olympic champions and title holders Britain on Thursday.
The Australians led from the start and the quartet of Leigh Howard, Samuel Welsford, Kelland O’Brien and Alex Porter set a time of 3:48.012 to eclipse the previous world mark of 3:49.804 achieved at their home 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Denmark took the bronze after beating Canada.
Britain’s three-time Olympic gold medallist Ed Clancy and team mates Charlie Tanfield, Ethan Hayter and Kian Emadi were blown away by the speed of the Australians, with the two countries likely to vie for gold at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
"I'm speechless at the moment to be honest," Australia's Porter, 22, said on the organisers' official twitter twitter.com/UCI_Track feed. "It's a pretty surreal feeling. We were going fast in training but we didn't imagine we'd be able to do something like that."
Porter was competing only 10 weeks after damaging his left shoulder and breaking a collarbone in a crash at the national madison championships at Melbourne Arena.
Australia’s Welsford won his second gold when he claimed the men’s scratch title with Roy Eefting of the Netherlands taking silver and New Zealand’s Tom Sexton the bronze.
Dutchman Matthijs Buchli secured his second gold of the championships by beating Japan’s Yudai Nitta and Germany’s Stefan Boetticher in the men’s keirin final. On Wednesday Buechli helped his country retain the team sprint title.
Australia beat Britain by 0.204 seconds in the women’s team pursuit final with Annette Edmondson, Ashlee Ankudinoff, Georgia Baker and Amy Cure hanging on after building an early lead.
New Zealand took the bronze by beating Canada.
Australia lead the medals table after the second day of the championships having won four out of seven finals.
Friday’s action includes the men’s points race, time trial and individual pursuit plus the women’s sprint.
Reporting by Anna Koper; Editing by Ken Ferris and Toby Davis