Great Britain’s Ed Clancy, Pete Kennaugh, Steven Burke and Geraint Thomas broke the world record to win team pursuit gold at the Track Cycling World Championships in Melbourne on this day in 2012.
The quartet, in which Burke had replaced qualification rider Andy Tennant, unexpectedly bettered the previous world record of three minutes 53.314secs set by Britain in winning Olympic gold at Beijing 2008 when they came home in 3mins 53.295secs to see off the challenge of hosts Australia.
The Australian team of Glenn O’Shea, Jack Bobridge, Rohan Dennis and Michael Hepburn crossed the line at the Hisense Arena in 3mins 53.401secs, just outside the old world record.
The lead changed hands several times during a tooth and nail four-kilometre battle which proved tough to watch for British coach Dan Hunt.
He said afterwards: “I’d rather have had my teeth pulled out than have watched that.”
Clancy, like Thomas a world and Olympic champion in 2008, admitted he and his team-mates had had to push themselves to their limits to triumph.
The victory set up Team GB perfectly for that summer’s London Olympics firm in the knowledge that the 2004 and 2008 world champions had gone on to win Games gold later in the same year.
In the event, Clancy, Thomas, Kennaugh and Burke successfully defended Britain’s title at London 2012 in a new world record 3mins 51.659secs with the Australians, who once again collected silver, almost three seconds in their wake.