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British cycling sprint team beat France to gold

Latest update : 2008-08-18

Great Britain's men's cycling sprint team clinched the gold medal in the Olympic final to leave world champions France with the silver. Defending champions Germany defeated Australia to win the bronze.

 

Britain won the first gold medal of the Olympic track cycling programme on Friday in the men's team sprint, beating France in the final.

 

Defending Olympic champions Germany took the bronze after edging Australia by a hair in the race for third place. Australia were leading the first two laps until Stefan Nimke powered home for Germany.

 

British sprint ace Chris Hoy anchored his three-man team, which placed first in qualifying and the first round of the team sprints.

 

France, winner of the three consecutive world championships, changed one rider in the final round, opting for Arnaud Tournant instead of Mickael Bourgain who raced in the first round.

 

After their victory Hoy, Jason Kenny and Jamie Staff put their arms around each other and stood on the track to greet the cheering crowd.

 

"We're so happy," said Shane Sutton, one of Britain's coaches. "It's great for Chris, he's going for three golds here."

 

"The French have been dominant, now it's our turn," he added. Britain won nine of the 18 gold medals up for grabs in the track world championships in Manchester, England in March and hope to repeat their performance in Beijing.

 

The team sprint consists of three-man teams that work together to post the fastest time over 750 metres, or three laps. The three start together and ride in a line. Each cyclist takes a turn leading, then drops off after his leading lap is finished.

Date created : 2008-08-15