When Team GB lined up for the team pursuit at the Rio Games, Luke Davison sent a text message: “Look at those chainrings!” The Brits would go on to post the second fastest time ever: 3:51.943 and their gearing seemed enormous. It’s difficult to know exactly what it is that Ed Clancy, Steven Burke, Owain Doull and Bradley Wiggins have on their bikes, but their legs did the talking on day one of track competition.
Second fastest was Denmark (3:55.396) with the reigning world champions, Australia third best (3:55.606) and the 2015 world champions, New Zealand fourth (3:55.977).
What can we take home from the times on day one? The Brits are on fire. And everyone else is working out how they can beat the defending champions.
All this talk is about the men’s team pursuit, but there’s also a lot to say about the women. The GB quartet – Katie Archibald, Laura Trott, Elinor Baker and Joanna Rowsell-Shand – set a new world record in qualifying (4:13.260) with the world champions, USA, the second fastest (4:14.286). The injured Australian foursome finished with the third fastest time but they were well behind on time, posting 4:19.059.
Our focus for this post is the men’s race, quite simply because the analysis offered comes from Luke Davison who was a member of the world championships winning team earlier this year. He’s now working for RIDE and our discussion (below) takes place upon arrival in the office only a couple of hours after the qualifying rides in Rio.
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Click the link to listen to our chat about the qualifying rides in Rio with Luke Davison and Rob Arnold.
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“Watching Bradley [Wiggins] peel off was quite surprising,” says Arnold. “Maybe it is a little game that they’re playing just to mess with our heads, to make us understand that they’re thinking of all different options.”
“Yeah, definitely,” Davison says in response. “I think we knew from the outset the teams are going to go for longer turns: less swings equals faster times. But that stress, and the gears that they have to ride – it would be interesting to actually know what gear they were on because that chainring was out of this world… ”
Listen to the exchange to get our immediate reaction to a most intriguing race.
(For more, listen to part one of our series ‘Talking pursuiting’.)