Australia takes women's team pursuit gold, Kiwi's set new world record
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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Australia takes women's team pursuit gold, Kiwi's set new world record

by Agence France-Presse at 10:43 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Track, Race Reports and Results, World Championships
Australia's women's pursuit team maintained the squad's impressive gold medal momentum with victory in the 3km event at the world track cycling championships Thursday.

Defending champions Britain finished second to take the silver, losing their world record in the process, while New Zealand set a new world mark of 3min 21.552sec to win the bronze.

Ashlee Ankudinoff, Sarah Kent and Josephine Tomic had posted a fastest qualifying time of 3:23.161sec for the 12-lap event to secure the gold medal ride-off earlier in the day.

And the trio proved unbeatable again as they surged to an impressive winning time of 3:21.748, just missing out on the new world mark set by their Oceanic rivals minutes earlier in their bronze medal match with the United States.

"I'm really stoked," said Tomic, who is also the reigning world omnium champion.

"We came here after winning (the World Cup) in Beijing and that gave us a bit of confidence that we can match it with the best in the world.

"Qualified fastest and pretty nervous coming in but we were confident and I think we had an awesome ride I don't think we've ever ridden that smooth and that well."

At last year's world championships in Poland Britain's Wendy Houvenaghel, Joanna Rowsell and Lizzie Armitstead beat New Zealand to the gold, with Australia winning the bronze.

But despite making the final they were left trailing from the outset and never launched a convincing fightback before finishing in a time of 3:22.287.

Although missing out on gold, the Kiwi trio had smiles to match their Oceania neighbours after their new world mark came in the wake of Jesse Sergent's silver in the men's individual pursuit.

Alison Shanks, who missed out on the chance to defend her individual pursuit title from 2009 on Wednesday's opening day before being beat to the bronze, was especially happy.

"We would have loved to have got the chance to go out and race for gold, but it's just wonderful to go out and get that world record time," she said.

"We went out really smoothly and managed to execute our ride to perfection."

Both Australia and New Zealand's finishing time bettered the pre-competition world record of 3:21.875, set by Britain in Manchester in November 2009.

The women's team pusuit will make its Olympic debut in London in 2012, where for the first time both sexes will race the same number of events (five).

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