• London Olympics 2012 - Cycling

Gold & world record for Hoy and team sprinters

ESPN staff
August 2, 2012 « London Olympics 2012 LIVE! | Chartbeat test »

Sir Chris Hoy equalled Sir Steve Redgrave's domestic record of five Olympic gold medals as Britain's team sprint squad romped to victory inside the Velodrome on Thursday.

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After the women's sprint duo of Victoria Pendleton and Jess Varnish suffered heartbreak earlier on Thursday, Hoy, lead-off man Philip Hines and Jason Kenny put on a show to end France's challenge and ensure the first British gold in the Velodrome of London 2012 - setting a new world record in the process.

"It's quite overwhelming," Hoy said. "We knew it was possible, if we all put the race together on the same day. We timed things perfectly, we tapered perfectly ... and we nailed it.

"I dug deeper for it than I ever have before. To do the best ride we've ever done here in front of the British fans is amazing.

"You cannot overstate what this means to us."

It was a remarkable performance for the British trio in a stadium known informally by many as 'The Pringle', with Hindes - the youngster of the team - leading out individual sprint hope Kenny, who put in a blistering lap to edge clear of world champion Gregory Bauge and give Hoy a slender advantage he would only build on over the final lap as the clock was ultimately stopped in 42.600 seconds.

That was enough to break a world record the Brits had set only hours earlier - and win by a margin of 0.413s; an absolute eternity by the standards of the event. It was especially amazing considering the confusion over handovers - which had cost the girls - that had gone before.

"We were careful, it was something we talked about in training," Kenny revealed. "We wanted to get it absolutely spot on, particularly after seeing it happen to the girls - how devastating it was.

"This gold is unbelievable."

It was clear even before the final that the British team were in sparkling form, as they set a world record to ensure their place in the gold medal sprint. Hindes' lead-out proved crucial in that regard - his split of 17.25s for the first lap was the best he has ever done in competition - as Hoy stopped the clock at 42.747s.

Hoy now needs just one more medal to join Bradley Wiggins as the most decorated Olympian ever with seven - although he will effectively top the list having won more golds than his equally celebrated cycling friend. He has the opportunity to do so in the keirin later in the week.

It nearly went so differently, however, after Hindes had a choppy start to their first heat - before falling to the track. That ensured the team were allowed a restart - and from there the result never really seemed to be in doubt.

"I can't believe it, I can't believe we are Olympic champions," Hindes noted. "I did it [the fall] to get the restart, just to play it safe."

In the bronze medal race, Germany narrowly edged out Australia to take third.

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