Olympics: Britain breaks world record in team sprint qualifying

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Scotland's Chris Hoy anchored Britain's three-man sprint team to the fastest time in qualifying for the first round of the competition in Beijing on Friday.

Hoy brought home a sterling British effort over three laps of the track in 42.950sec to top qualifying and comfortably book a place in the crucial first round.

Reigning world champions France were the only other team to go under the 44-sec mark, Arnaud Tournant bringing their effort home in 43.541. Defending Olympic champions Germany boosted their hopes of a medal by finishing third fastest in 44.197. The Netherlands finished fourth with Australia in fifth.

Eight of the 12 starting teams qualify for the first round, from which the four fastest teams go on to contend the medal rounds - the two fastest for the gold, and the next two fastest for the bronze.

Also qualified were Athens silver medallists Japan, who needed a second bite at the cherry after one of their riders suffered a mechanical problem on their first ride. Malaysia qualified seventh fastest while the United States, who had finished ninth fastest, won their first round ticket when Poland were disqualified.

Britain's time of 42.950 would have won them the world title in March at the Manchester velodrome, where they finished second behind France.

© AFP 2008

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