British team pursuit riders to defend title tonight

Wiggins et al aiming for gold

Reigning champions Britain will defend their team pursuit title against Denmark at the world track cycling championships tonight [Thursday].

Denmark posted the fastest time of qualifying in 3min 57.734sec. Britain was the only other team to go below the four-minute mark, in a time of 3:58.983.

New Zealand will meet Australia, the world record holders in a time of 3:56.610, in the match for the bronze medal.

Bradley Wiggins claimed the hosts' first medal of the championships Wednesday when he successfully defended his individual pursuit crown against Dutchman Jenning Huizenga.

The 27-year-old from London then teamed up with Edward Clancy, Geraint Thomas and Paul Manning Thursday in a bid to beat the stunning time set by the Danish quartet of Michael Faerk Christensen, Casper Jorgensen, Jens-Erik Madsen and Alex Rasmussen.

The Danes claimed a bronze medal at last year's world championships and are a rising force in the 16-lap race endurance event.

Australia are in the process of rebuilding their pursuit team in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics.

However they will be pleased having seen the quartet of Jack Bobridge, Graeme Brown, Mark Jamieson and Bradley McGee take them to the medals round after Australia's failure to qualify last year.

Brown and McGee, both of whom race as road professionals with Rabobank and CSC respectively, were part of Australia's gold medal winning team at the Athens Olympics.

New Zealand's quartet was composed of Sam Bewley, Westley Gough, Hayden Roulston and Marc Ryan.

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