Cycling: Hoy offers comfort as trio go out

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Sir CHRIS HOY insisted his team-mates were blameless after the Great Britain trio had a disastrous outing in yesterday’s team sprint at the UCI World Championships in Melbourne.

Youngster Philip Hindes produced a solid opening leg of 17.510 seconds before handing over to Jason Kenny for the second lap. However, as he pulled up the track, Hindes, 20, allowed the outgoing rider to overtake him too soon.

Hoy then anchored the team to fourth spot and a place in the bronze medal ride-off. But they were subsequently relegated for their error and denied a medal for the first time since 1999.

“It was a very easy mistake to make,” said Hoy, who praised Hindes for his championship debut, adding: “I still think he did an amazing ride and we should be pleased with his progression.” The sprinters’ disappointment was in sharp contrast to the elation of Ed Clancy, Pete Kennaugh, Steven Burke and Geraint Thomas who broke the team pursuit world record in taking team pursuit gold, while Ben Swift sprinted to victory in the men’s scratch race.

This morning, Great Britain’s Victoria Pendleton and Jess Varnish advanced to the first knock-out round of the women’s sprint – as Australia’s Anna Meares broke the world record.

Olympic champion Pendleton clocked 11.076sec for fifth best as defending champion Meares finished in 10.782sec, beating the previous record by 0.011sec.

Varnish was eighth quickest in 11.090 in the flying lap.

Meares beat Colombia’s Juliana Gaviria comfortably in her head-to-head bout to progress to the third round while Pendleton met Yvonne Hijgenaar of the Netherlands and edged through by a wheel length.

Varnish was up against Junhong Lin of China. The race was restarted after a Junhong track stand – where riders hold a stationary position – unsettled Varnish. At the second attempt, Varnish led out but was overhauled by her rival in the finishing straight and eliminated.

And Great Britain’s Joanna Rowsell, Dani King and Laura Trott set a world record of three minutes 16.850 seconds in qualifying in the three-kilometre team pursuit.