Britain smash women's team sprint world record

LONDON Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:27pm GMT

1 of 2. Team Britain cyclists Jess Varnish (L) and Victoria Pendleton celebrate winning the Gold Medal in the Women's Team Sprint Final at the UCI Track Cycling World Cup at the Olympic Velodrome in London February 17, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Eddie Keogh

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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain, spearheaded by Victoria Pendleton, broke the world record in the women's team sprint as they beat Australia to win gold at the London track World Cup series on Friday.

Pendleton and Jessica Varnish gave a packed capacity of 6,000 roaring fans a taster of what to expect at the velodrome when it hosts the Olympic cycling events later this year by slashing 0.074 off the previous record set by the Australian world champions earlier on Friday. Britain crossed the line in 32.754 seconds.

Anna Meares and Kaarle McCulloch had lowered their own world record by clocking 32.828 in the qualifying session and a repeat of the Australians' performance looked likely after the first of two 250-metre laps.

Britain were 0.232 down when Varnish gave way for Pendleton to deliver, and she did just that by riding the final lap in 13.962.

"I can't explain how good it feels to have the world record. Australia had it and now we've got it back," Pendleton, the individual sprint Olympic champion, told reporters.

China beat France to take the bronze medal.

Meares and McCulloch, who earlier on Friday predicted the record would be broken, had beaten Pendleton and Varnish to claim the gold medal at last year's world championships.

(Additional reporting by Tom Pilcher; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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