COLNE’S Steven Burke had to settle for a bronze medal last night after his Great Britain team pursuit squad finished third on the opening day of the Track Cycling World Championships in Apeldoorn, Holland.
After qualifying third fastest, Britain’s quartet of Andy Tennant, Burke, Peter Kennaugh and Sam Harrison clocked four minutes 02.781 seconds in the third/fourth-placed ride off to take bronze ahead of New Zealand, who finished in four minutes 05.977secs.
Olympic champion Ed Clancy, the world omnium champion, has been struggling with a virus of late and failed to finish the heat of the four-man, four-kilometre event.
He was replaced by Harrison for the ride-off as the 18-year-old Welshman claimed a medal on his senior World Champion-ships debut.
Harrison could yet deputise for Clancy in the omnium tomorrow and Saturday, with a decision on the Yorkshire-man’s fitness set to be taken today.
Australia lived up to their position as fastest qualifiers by successfully defending their world title with 3:57.832, an impressive time on a slow track, pushing nearest challen-gers Russia into the silver medal position.
Burke, who was part of the team which finished second to Australia 12 months ago in Copenhagen, was frustrated not to make the gold medal ride-off.
He said: “It was a bit disappointing in qualifying, but we did all we could I suppose – Ed wasn’t himself and we made the best of a bad scenario.
“We had the talent in us, but didn’t deliver on the day.
“It just didn’t work out. It was one of those things.”
Burke was something of an unknown before taking indivi-dual pursuit bronze at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 behind Bradley Wiggins.
The 23-year-old believes Harrison has the potential to do something similar and make the British team in London.
He added: “He’s got that ability. He’s shown that from 15 years of age.
“He’s one to look out for in the future.”