• Georgia Baker, Amy Cure, Annette Edmondson and Melissa Hoskins during Saturday's qualifying round in Rio before later finishing fifth (Getty) (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Today's team pursuit qualifying round and finals was a bridge too far for Australia's injured and bruised women but they still valiantly fought on to a fifth place finish. Meanwhile, Great Britain smashed the USA, and the world record in the gold medal final.
By
Rachel de Bear

Source:
Cycling Central
14 Aug 2016 - 1:30 PM  UPDATED 14 Aug 2016 - 1:40 PM

Brits break team pursuit world record as bruised Aussies fight on
Great Britain broke the women's team pursuit world record in the qualifying round of the Rio Olympic Games. Strewn out on the boards when they crashed just three days ago, the Australians posted the third fastest time.
Aussie womens team pursuit squad crashes in Rio velodrome
The five-woman team pursuit squad took a tumble whilst training in the Rio velodrome today with Melissa Hoskins stretchered off track 'as a precaution'. She was taken to hospital for further checks.

On Monday, four of Australia's five team pursuit members lay writhing on the track after their crash. Officially announced as a precaution, the news of a stretchered off Melissa Hoskins catching an ambulance ride to hospital was a major concern.

Fast forward to Thursday's qualifying and Hoskins who needed carrying onto her bike, along with Georgia Baker, Amy Cure and Annette Edmonson somehow managed to post the third fastest time behind Great Britain and the USA. 

Perhaps charged with adrenaline and emotion produced by facing their first race after the crash, the foursome's time disguised the true affect of their injuries. 

Today's times could not. The team finished today's qualifying round in fifth with a 4:20.262 and that's where they finished after facing off against Italy to make it official.  

Australia's fifth rider Ashlee Ankudinoff, also involved in the crash and with an injured rib, subbed in for Hoskins in the ride against Italy.   

"I'm very thankful to have a ride with these fabulous girls," Ankudinoff told Channel 7's Katherine Bates. "We've been together for a good year just really motivated to come out here and win gold but it wasn't to be with the crash but we're not going to use that as an excuse. We're just happy we're here to ride," 

In the same interview, Hoskins through tears and a breaking voice said getting on her bike on Thursday wasn't as hard as people might think. 

"I have a fantastic group of people around me and these girls pick me up every single day. I'm so proud to have them by my side.

"I wasn't going to cry!  

"I can't think of a better way to finish off potentially my career because they've been great friends and I've been very very lucky." 

Cure couldn't contain how proud she felt of her team mates. 

"It's always tough when you have a crash in training. Mel was on crutches until the day we raced, I'm so proud of all the girls and when we've been down we picked each other together," she said. 

Baker faced another challenge of her own after losing her father to a heart attack in May last year. The 21-year-old said she couldn't have faced it without the support she and the team has received. 

"It's amazing to have the support we have behind us. It really motivates us to do our best. We're pretty tough and we've got Australia to thank for that as well," she said. 

Edmonson summed up their experience best when she said:

"We could've easily been sitting out there and not actually getting a shot to ride.

"Fifth isn't what we came here for, given the circumstances we're pretty proud we've made it here and it's been a pretty crazy journey."  

 

The gold medal final 

USA led at the first kilometre benefiting from the early hard work of Sarah Hammer on the front.

But once Katie Archibald, Laura Trott, Elinor Barker and Joanna Roswell-Shand found their rhythm, they took control from the halfway point and never looked back, finishing in 4:10.236. 

Trott is the first British female Olympian to win three gold medals. 

"We knew a world record was on the cards but it almost felt unreal," Trott said after the race. 

"I actually said to Katie, 'that was possibly the easiest world record we've ever got'.

"I've never been in a team that feels so seamless. You can tell that everyone was giving 100 percent to get to the finish line first and I could not be prouder right now."

Earlier, Great Britain produced another world record in their heat against Canada - who ultimately finished with bronze. 

Great Britain women's team pursuit qualifying round world record splits  

 

1000m 1:07.879 (total time)  1:07.879 (lap time)
2000m 2:08.684 (total time)  1:00.805 (lap time)
3000m 3:10.099 (total time)  1:01.415 (lap time)
4000m 4:12.152 (total time)  1:02.053 (lap time)

Great Britain women's team pursuit gold medal final world record splits  

1000m 1:06.927 (total time) 1:06.927 (lap time)
2000m 2:07.319 (total time) 1:00.392 (lap time)
3000m 3:08.565 (total time)  1:01.246 (lap time)
4000m 4:10.236 (total time)  1:01.671 (lap time)