3:50.577 – third fastest team pursuit ever
The world championships may have snuck up on many. They are on right now in Hong Kong. The first day of racing is over and although there’s not a lot of hype surrounding the event, there is plenty of reason to cheer. For Australians, the big news is a silver medal for Kaarle McCulloch and Stephanie Morton in the team sprint (behind Russia) in an national record time: 32.57.
And the qualifying time for the men’s team pursuit is one to be admired: the second fastest 4,000m ever raced, the Aussies caught the British team and still posted 3:50.577!
It was in the final of the Sydney Olympics that the four minute barrier was broken for the first time. The gold medal ride in 2000 was done in 3:59.710. It was a reason to rejoice. That world record now essentially seems slow. And, overnight in Hong Kong, a young Australian quartet rode the third fastest time ever.
Cameron Meyer, Sam Welsford, Alex Porter and Kelland O’Brien contested the qualifying ride. They not only dominated the British team (Steven Burke, Kian Emadi, Andrew Tennant and Oliver Wood), they caught them… and still posted 3:50.577!
The world record, set in the final of the Rio Olympics, is 3:50.265. That was the British team, ahead of the Australians.
Before that gold medal ride in Rio, the Brits posted 3:50.570 in round one… it was a world record for less than two hours before that amazing time was broken in the final.
Had it not been for the passing manoeuvre that was required in the closing kilometre of the qualifying ride in Hong Kong, the Australian foursome would have posted at least the second-fastest time ever…
Realistically, the world record may have been set… and it all happened in the opening hours of the 2017 championships.
The conditions were conducive for fast times and Cycling Australia has reason to celebrate an amazing accomplishment.
To highlight the quality of the Aussie ride, the Brits could only conjure 3:58.936 – fifth best in qualifying and way off the fastest time.
Australia will race against 2015 world champions, New Zealand, tonight in a bid for a second successive gold medal in the world championships.
TV coverage is available via Foxtel but there is no live free-to-air coverage of the championships.
Follow Cycling Australia on Twitter and on the federation’s website to get your fix of commentary from the team which debut a new outfit last night in Hong Kong.
For results and analysis, visit the official timing page hosted by Tissot.
Below is a summary of the splits for the phenomenal ride by the Australian team.