COLNE’S Beijing Olympic medallist Steven Burke is hoping to make it third time lucky as he bids to put two years of disappointment behind him at the Track Cycling World Championships today.

Burke, who took bronze in the individual pursuit in Beijing in 2008, has won five team pursuit golds on the World Cup circuit in the past three years but a gold medal at the World Championships – the biggest event outside of the Olympics – has so far eluded him.

Illness in the build-up meant Burke was only able to help Great Britain to fourth place in Poland in 2009, before they were pipped to the gold by less than two-tenths of a second by Australia in Copenhagen last year.

That was one of the greatest disappointments of Burke’s career so far and the 23-year-old, expected to represent his country at the London Olympics next year, is determined to make amends when Great Britain go head to head with Australia in the Dutch city of Apeldoorn today.

Burke and the British team posted the fifth fastest time in history at last month’s World Cup event in Manchester, but key men Bradley Wiggins and Geraint Thomas will not be involved this time after returning to their road commitments.

“Last year we were capable of performing a bit better but we just didn’t deliver the goods in the final,” said Burke.

“That was a bit of a disappointment. We lost by so little, I think it was a bike length.

“The World Championships are the second most important competition on the track, second only to the Olympics.

“We've only got two World Championships left to get it right for the Olympics, which is the big one.

“As a nation we are the Olympic champions and the world record holders, so even though the Aussies are the world champions I think we are still the team to beat because they haven't rode as quick as we have.

“But it will be very close. We won't have our strongest line-up because we don't have Geraint Thomas or Bradley Wiggins, so it's going to be a big challenge for us.

“To get a lot of wins at World Championships and World Cup level under your belt certainly helps psychologically against other teams.

“We want to carry momentum into the Olympics.”