Colne cyclist Steven Burke won a silver medal in the team pursuit at the world track cycling championships in Minsk tonight.

Australia, Germany, the United States and France won a gold medal apiece on the opening day of the Track Cycling World Championships in Minsk as Great Britain missed out on a title.

Britain, the dominant force in track racing, won Olympic and world gold in the men's team pursuit in 2012, yet Australia finished more than four seconds ahead to reclaim the world title.

Australia led throughout the 16-lap final, even though Glenn O'Shea dropped out entering the final kilometre, leaving Alex Edmondson, Michael Hepburn and Alex Morgan to hold off Britain in the finale and win in three minutes 56.751 seconds.

Ed Clancy, Steven Burke, Andy Tennant and Sam Harrison finished in 4mins 00.967secs. Denmark were third, ahead of Spain.

O'Shea said: "We knew we had to go out hard. Great Britain is known for going out hard and putting you under pressure so we wanted to go out and put the pressure on them for once.

"We got out in front early and managed to hold on."

Hepburn added: "We've been beaten the last couple of times. Obviously it's not payback and doesn't make up for the losses we had last year but it's nice to get up with a new group of guys and really exciting to see the next couple of years are in good hands in the team pursuit."

Britain were not too disappointed with silver at the first World Championships on the road to the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016.

Clancy said: "It does hurt to lose to the Aussies, but it's an Olympic programme. It's bike racing, you can't win all the time.

"It's disappointing, but if you don't look at it so black and white there's a lot of positives."

Burke will replace Andy Tennant in the individual pursuit tomorrow.