Britain will look to Mark Cavendish and Victoria Pendleton to rescue their world track cycling championships campaign after another mitigated day of results on Thursday in Poland.
Despite coming to the five-day competition looking to lay foundations for the London Olympics in 2012, Britain – the track kings of Beijing with seven golds from 10 finals – were left rueing what could have been.
Britain’s head coach Heiko Salzwedel was hoping the Olympic team pursuit champions would make the final. Instead, a quartet with only one Olympic survivor in Ed Clancy was beat in the bronze medal match by New Zealand.
Matt Parker, the men’s endurance coach, put a brave face on the performance.
“It was probably exactly as we expected, to be honest, and we got two good rides there out of a very young team,” he said. “If you look at the team pursuit times of the last two years for us, it’s the equivalent of where the Olympic team was two years ago.”
The world title went to Olympic silver medallists Denmark, who took advantage of Britain’s comparative weakness and the relative inexperience of a young Australian team to claim a first world gold in the 16-lap event.
Olympic silver medallist Alex Rasmussen said he would have preferred to beat their Olympic conquerors Britain in the final.
“We wanted to defeat the British in the final just to beat them …that didn’t happen this year, but it’s just great to have kept the team together after the Olympics up until here, and winning,” said Rasmussen.
Jack Bobridge, the only Olympian in Australia’s team, was sorely disappointed at just missing the gold.
“When it comes down to the racing you have to rely on the coach but I felt we held them and held them pretty even but unfortunately they had the legs in the last kilo,” he said. “It was pretty close though and now we go off and wait another year I suppose.”
Britain made no changes to the team that had failed to qualify for the final, and that arguably cost them a medal as Clancy, Steven Burke, Jonathan Bellis and Peter Kennaugh finished in 4:01.838.
The Kiwis, composed of Westley Gough, Peter Latham, Marc Ryan and Jesse Sergent, finished in 4:00.248 to claim the bronze.
In the only speed event final, Germany proved kings for the second day in a row.
Germany’s stefan nimke celebrates after winning the men’s 1km time trial final during the uci track world championships 2009 on march 27, 2009 at the bgz arena in pruszkow, poland.:JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images
Twenty-four hours after Maximilian Levy battled to succeed Britain’s Chris Hoy as keirin champion, team-mate Stefan Nimke destroyed the field in a time of 1 minute, 00.666sec for the one kilometre event.
American teen Phinney claims silver in kilo
Two, almost equally impressive, performances followed courtesy of American Taylor Phinney and Mohd Rizal Tisin of Malaysia, who took silver and bronze respectively.
The feat of Phinney feat is all the more impressive as the 18-year-old son of former cycling champions, Davis Phinney and Connie Carpenter, has only raced in a few kilos in official competition and is a 4km pursuit specialist.
His first lap left him in 25th place, but from there he went to 22nd then 10th then second.
American taylor phinney competes in the men’s 1 kilometre, finishing second friday.:JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images
“I don’t know if it’s the right way to do it, but it’s the pursuiters’ way of riding the kilo I guess,” he said modestly.
Tisin’s bronze was his country’s first ever at the world championships.
Lissie Armitstead got up from a crash to claim a silver medal behind Yumari Gonzalez in the women’s scratch final, giving Britain some consolation.
Britain’s mark cavendish has another shot at track world’s gold saturday.:Bryn Lennon/Getty Images
But the Brits will be looking for another colour on Saturday when Cavendish races the Madison on Saturday with fellow Isle of Man rider Peter Kennaugh and Pendleton aims to claim a fourth gold in the women’s sprint.