GB men and women lead in pursuit

Great Britain are gold medal favourites in the men’s and women’s team pursuit at the European Track Championships after qualifying fastest in the heats.

The female quartet of Joanna Rowsell Shand, Laura Trott, Ciara Horne and Elinor Barker were almost 10 seconds clear of their rivals in Switzerland.

Sir Bradley Wiggins led GB’s men, one of two teams to break four minutes.

Britain have won team pursuit gold in every European Championships they have entered since 2010.

The event in Grenchen marks Wiggins’s first 2016 Olympics qualifying outing since he decided to

return to the track

from road racing.

Points earned will help towards securing places at next summer’s Olympic Games in Brazil.

And Wiggins, Steven Burke, Owain Doull and Andrew Tennant, an ever-present in all four GB successes at this event, had plenty in hand as they finished in three minutes 57.28 seconds. Hosts Switzerland (3:59.03) were next quickest.

GB face Russia in Thursday’s semi-final, with Switzerland and France racing in the other.

Laura Trott

Britain’s Laura Trott has featured in all four British team pursuit gold medal teams at the European Track Championships

In the women’s event, Barker stepped in for Katie Archibald, meaning Britain had the same quartet that won gold in the women’s event last year.

And once Rowsell Shand made a blistering start over two and a quarter laps, they were always well ahead of the time splits as they went last in the 16-lap against-the-clock qualification rides.

They finished in four minutes 21.09 seconds and will meet Poland in Thursday’s semi-final.

Russia, who qualified second fastest in 4:30.66, face Italy in the other semi-final of the 10-team event.

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