Becky James will bid for individual glory after claiming her first Track Cycling World Championships medal in the women's team sprint on day one in Minsk.

The 21-year-old from Abergavenny combined with senior World Championships debutant Vicky Williamson to claim a surprise bronze and is in the form of her life, according to sprint coach Iain Dyer.

James, who will ride in the first of three individual events, the 500metres time-trial, said: "Seeing the form I've got I'd really like to be up there this week. I'll give it my best shot."

The 19-year-old Williamson was a late replacement for Jess Varnish, who has a back injury, while James was fulfilling second-lap duties previously occupied by the now-retired Victoria Pendleton. Williamson, who received text messages of support from Varnish in the build-up, said: "I'm gobsmacked. To come out with a bronze medal is just amazing."

There was a sense of disappointment in the men's team pursuit as Australia claimed gold by more than four seconds in an event in which Britain won world and Olympic gold in 2012. Two of the London Olympic-winning quartet - Ed Clancy and Steven Burke - were present in the squad which lost the world champion rainbow jerseys.

Clancy, Burke, 2012 world champion Andy Tennant and Sam Harrison, who won world bronze in 2011, qualified second fastest and were unable to overturn their seeding, finishing in four minutes 00.967 seconds, to their rivals' 3mins 56.751secs.

Clancy, who experimented with the team sprint earlier this winter before reverting to his usual discipline, 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."

Like James, Burke will go for individual glory in the 4km individual pursuit. Kian Emadi was fourth in the men's one-kilometre time-trial won by Francois Pervis of France. The 20-year-old will now ride in the men's team sprint on day two alongside Philip Hindes and Jason Kenny, taking Sir Chris Hoy's man-three slot in the three-lap event.

Olympic champions Laura Trott and Dani King will hope to defend their women's team pursuit title, with Elinor Barker completing the line-up. The trio won November's Track World Cup in Glasgow and Trott is targeting a repeat and a hat-trick of world titles in the event and a first for 18-year-old Barker.

Double Olympic champion Trott said: "She (Barker) was absolutely amazing in Glasgow. If she can do anything close to what she did there then it will just be fantastic. Hopefully we can do the same again."