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Australia has regained the world team pursuit title from Great Britain after an epic encounter at the World Track Championships in Bordeaux on Saturday. The Australian quartet of Mark Jamieson, Peter Dawson, Matthew Goss and Stephen Wooldridge defeat Britain's four of Steve Cummings, Rob Hayles, Paul Manning and Geraint Thomas by just 36 hundredths of a second in one of the closest fought finals in Worlds history.
The Australians were half a second up after one kilometre but the Brits fought back to within a tenth of a second by halfway. Australia rallied to stretch the margin to 0.4 of a second with one kilometre remaining and from there both teams laid it all on the line. The Brits edged ahead with two laps remaining but the Australians refused to say die and clawed back the lead to secure the gold medal.
"I really can't believe it," said Wooldridge, who broke down in tears of joy after the result was confirmed on the board. "After 2004 we came out of such a great era for Australian teams pursuiting that culminated with the world record and gold medal in Athens and since then everyone's been talking about who hasn't been here, but I've tried to drum in the positive of who is here. I say look at these young guys coming through and the fantastic talent. These are special nights and I'm going to savour this one more than ever."
"This is probably the sweetest one," said Dawson. "The Brits (England) beat us in Melbourne quite convincingly and it hurt a lot to lose the Commonwealth Games at home because we'll never have an opportunity to race that one again. Today was the closest world title I've known and to come out on top is just fantastic."
The two nations' positions were the other way around in Friday night's kilometre event, which was won for the third time by Olympic chapmpion Chris Hoy. Australia's Commonwealth Games champion Ben Kersten was second this time, with France's Francois Pervis third.
"That meant so much to me. I think when you doubt yourself and have questions and you don't know for sure you are going to win, it means all the more when you do. I had a lot of doubt after the Games and as you get older, you start to question whether you are past your best so tonight I wanted this for myself and for the hard work I had put in for the Commonwealth Games," said Hoy.
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