Great Britain's (from left) Steven Burke, Peter Kennaugh, Geraint Thomas and Ed Clancy compete in the final of the men's team pursuit at the Track Cycling World Championships in Melbourne yesterday.
World record times were set in the first two finals of the world track cycling championships in Melbourne, Australia, yesterday by the British men in the team pursuit and Germany in the women's team sprint.
Olympic champion Britain claimed the first gold medal at the Hisense Arena, edging out defending champ Australia in what many expect to be a preview of the London Olympic gold-medal race.
Edward Clancy, Peter Kennaugh, Steven Burke and Geraint Thomas led from the start to finish in a new world mark of 3 minutes, 53.295 seconds, eclipsing the 3:53.314 the team set to win gold at the Beijing Olympics.
Australia's Jack Bobridge, Glenn O'Shea, Rohan Dennis and Michael Hepburn finished in 3:53.401.
New Zealand (3:57.592) won the bronze medal after beating Russia (3:59.273).
British Cycling performance director Dave Brailsford said it was an ideal result ahead of the London Games. "If you were going to do it in any way possible, if you had a clean sheet of paper, 'how can we do this?' - this would be the way to do it," Brailsford said. "But there's nothing in it and we'll resume battle (at London) in 16 weeks."
In the women's team sprint, Germany's Miriam Welte and Kristina Vogel beat three-time defending champs Anna Meares and Kaarl McCulloch of Australia in 32.549, the third world-best time of the day after they set a record in qualifying. The previous record of 32.754 was by Britain at last month's World Cup in London.
Meares, however, scored an early win in her rivalry with Olympic and eight-time world champion Victoria Pendleton when Australia beat Britain in qualifying. China beat Britain to the bronze medal.