barnsley’s Ed Clancy said his Great Britain’s team pursuit squad was propelled through qualifying to the gold medal races on the opening night of the London Track World Cup by “a wall of noise” at the Olympic Velodrome.
Clancy, Steven Burke, Peter Kennaugh and Geraint Thomas advanced to an Ashes duel with fastest qualifiers Australia in Sunday’s final of the men’s four-kilometre event, clocking three minutes 58.466 seconds behind their rivals’ 3:57.885. The 26-year-old, part of the team which won Olympic gold in 2008, said: “There was a wall of noise the whole 16 laps. It didn’t die down one bit.
“I can’t believe 6,000 people have come to watch us qualify - it was mental.
“We usually communicate within the line - hold, squeeze, if we lose a guy at the end - we couldn’t have heard a thing there.”
Britain were the 13th of 18 teams to ride in qualifying and had to wait for their final place to be secured, with New Zealand and Belgium reaching the bronze medal ride-off.
“We’ve never dealt with anything like that before,” added Clancy, who revealed the squad would go on a road ride tomorrow and relax in the team’s Docklands hotel.
“On one side it’s nice to have a couple of days off, but it’s bizarre racing at this time in qualifying and having two days sat in the hotel pondering what’s going on.
“We’re not allowed on the track for the next two days. I wouldn’t want to turn down the opportunity to race here again - it’s pretty cool.”
That opportunity will come against world champions Australia. They’ve got a super-star team at the moment and I think they’re the favourites going into London,” Clancy said.
Laura Trott, Wendy Houvenaghel and Joanna Rowsell ride for gold later today after qualifying in three minutes 21.370 seconds, second fastest behind Canada, in the women’s three-kilometre pursuit.
Rotherham’s Ben Swift begins his quest for the Omnium title today with three of the event’s six disciplines.
Also later are the team sprints - Sir Chris Hoy, Jason Kenny and Ross Edgar for the men, Victoria Pendleton and Jess Varnish for the women.