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Team Pursuit, 4,000 metres, Men

Date3 – 4 August 2021
StatusOlympic
LocationIzu Velodrome, 1826 Ono, Izu, Shizuoka 410-2402, Japan
Participants37 from 8 countries

Denmark qualified fastest with an Olympic record 3:45.014, with Italy second, New Zealand third and Great Britain in fourth. Canada qualified in sixth place, and in their team was Vincent de Haître who was competing in his third Olympics, but this was his first Summer Games having taken part as a speed skater in the 2014 and the 2018 Winter Games. He was also a former world speed skating record holder.

A fourth-place finish in qualifying looked like being the end of British domination in this event which had seen them win gold at the last three Olympics, but they were facing a stiff test from reigning world record holders and world champions Denmark. Silver medallists in Rio, Australia, were also considered one of the medal favourites in Tokyo but they failed to qualify for one of the medal races after finishing fifth in qualifying, less than a second behind Great Britain.

In their first round heat Italy set a new world record 3:42.307 in beating New Zealand, who were also under the old mark, and qualified for the bronze medal race. The Italian quarter was made up of Francesco Lamon, Simone Consonni, Filippo Ganna, and Jonathan Milan

World champions Denmark, who had set a new world record in qualifying the previous day, were up against Great Britain in their first round heat but the Danes easily caught the British four but, just as he got within a wheel of Britain’s third rider, Charlie Tanfield, in for the injured Ed Clancy, Tanfield was hit from behind by Frederik Madsen and both men crashed to the boards. Neither team finished with three riders (times were taken on the wheel of the third rider of each team) but it was adjudged on appeal that as Britain had been caught, which was the purpose of the pursuit, Denmark were winners and through to the final, while Britain had to race for the 7th/8th position, a rare occurrence for them.

Without Alexander Porter, whose handlebars mysteriously came off his bike during qualification, Australia beat New Zealand after overtaking them in the bronze medal race. New Zealand went home without a medal in the knowledge that their time of 3:42.397 in the heat against Italy was the second fastest time of the entire competition.

Predictably, Italy won the gold in yet another world record, 3:42.03, beating Denmark by 0.166. The Italians led for the first 2000 metres but the Danes took the lead at the three-quarter stage and still led at the bell before narrowly losing gold. It was Italy’s first team pursuit medal since bronze at Mexico in 1968 and their first gold since winning on “home soil” in 1960.

After their defeat by Denmark, Clancy announced his retirement and pulled out of all remaining 2020 Tokyo events, not wanting to aggravate a back injury. He left the Olympic arena with three Olympic team pursuit golds and an omnium bronze medal to his name, as well as six world golds.

PosTeamNOC
1ItalyITAGold
Simone ConsonniFilippo GannaFrancesco LamonJonathan MilanElia Viviani (DNS)
2DenmarkDENSilver
Lasse Norman HansenNiklas LarsenFrederik MadsenRasmus PedersenJulius Johansen (DNS)
3AustraliaAUSBronze
Kelland O'BrienSam WelsfordLeigh HowardLuke PlappAlexander Porter
4New ZealandNZL
Aaron GateCampbell StewartRegan GoughJordan KerbyCorbin Strong (DNS)
5CanadaCAN
Vincent de HaîtreMichael FoleyDerek GeeJay Lamoureux
6GermanyGER
Roger KlugeFelix GroßLeon RohdeDomenic WeinsteinTheo Reinhardt
7Great BritainGBR
Ethan HayterCharlie TanfieldEthan VernonOllie WoodEd ClancyMatthew Walls (DNS)
8SwitzerlandSUI
Robin FroidevauxStefan BisseggerValère ThiébaudCyrille ThièryThéry SchirMauro Schmid