Pursuit world record will go, NZ in hunt
Wed, 01 Aug 2012 8:03a.m.
By Roger Vaughan
Jack Bobridge expects the four-way dogfight for track cycling's team pursuit Olympic gold medal will take a huge chunk out of the world record.
Bobridge is the only member of the young five-man Australian squad, dubbed the "Boy Band" by the British press, who rode in the 4000m event at the Beijing Games.
Day one of the track program on Thursday includes qualifying for the team pursuit, where world champions Great Britain, Australia, Russia and New Zealand are the contenders.
The latest chapter in the long-time rivalry between Australia and Great Britain in the event came in April at the Melbourne world titles, where the British broke their own record.
Their mark of three minutes 53.314 seconds had stood since they won the gold medal at the Beijing Olympics and they reduced it to 3:53.295.
But Great Britain only beat Australia by .106 of a second in an epic final.
And Bobridge says everything is set up for the record to take another hammering.
"It's an awesome venue - like lightning," Bobridge said in the London Games velodrome.
"I believe it will be that 3:50, 3:51 mark that will take the gold medal.
"The temperatures in here are perfect, just like they were at the World Cup and I'm sure there are going to be some world records."
While four nations have strong medal claims, the focus will be on the fierce rivalry between Australia and the British.
Bobridge and team-mate Michael Hepburn have been keen to point out that the British now set the pace.
Bobridge reels off their status - world champions, Olympic champions, world record holders, Games host team.
"It also puts a lot more pressure back on them now in front of their home crowd," Bobridge said.
"It's extra good for us heading in there as underdogs and a lot more pressure on them to perform."
Another member of the team, Rohan Dennis, said it is always nice to beat the "Old Country".
"It's always good to beat the guys who kicked us out of our country, because we were convicts," he said.
Australia should finish among the top four nations in qualifying, a must if they are to be in gold medal contention on Friday.
The top four qualifiers ride off against each other in the first round and the winners of those two heats ride off for the gold medal less than two hours later.
Australia last won the Olympic gold medal in 2004 and they were a disappointing fourth at the Beijing Games.
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