MELBOURNE: Britain underlined their Olympic gold-winning potential by successfully defending their 3 km team pursuit title in a world record time at the world track cycling championships on Thursday.
A day after their men's team set a new world mark of 3min 53.295sec in winning gold against Australia in the 4km event, the British women followed suit.
The trio of Laura Trott, Joanna Rowsell and Danielle King powered over 12 laps of the Hisense Arena track to clock 3min 15.720sec, beating the world record of 3:16.850 they had set earlier in qualifying.
Australia finished in 3:16.943 to take the silver while Canada (3:19.529) won the bronze after beating New Zealand (3:19.847).
The hosts, represented by Annette Edmondson, Melissa Hoskins and Josephine Tomic, lifted the roof at the Hisense Arena earlier on Thursday when they bettered Britain's world mark of 3:18.148 -- set six weeks ago in London -- in a time of 3:17.053.
Britain, however, went on to reclaim the record in an improved time of 3:16.850 to top the qualifying session.
In the final Australia went out fast, taking a 1.3sec lead after four laps of the track.
That deficit came down to just eight tenths four laps further on and, as the Aussies tired, the British stuck to their plan for the final four laps to leave Australia trailing at the finish.
"The Australians went out fast, but we stuck to our plan to go out steady and hold pace," said Rowsell, who won the team gold in 2008 and 2009 but was left out of the final team that won gold last year.
It is Britain's fourth world title in five years in the event, which made its worlds debut in 2008 and will make its Olympic debut in London.
Rowsell added: "I'm absolutely over the moon. I can't believe I'm world champion again - it's been three years. I so badly wanted that rainbow jersey back.
"To see the world record broken before our ride is always quite tough; we saw that happen to the team sprint girls yesterday.
"We had to keep our heads, do our own ride. We went out rode to a schedule and actually beat it."
Hoskins said they had no complaints about Australia's performance in an event they have been making steady progress on in recent years -- and which they hope to master by the London Olympics.
"We definitely laid it on the line, we had no choice but to. We're not disappointed at all," Hoskins told AFP.
"Of course you want to go out and win, but the last two years we've had a bit of an up and down run. But finally we're getting a bit more consistent on the podiums and that's exactly what you need leading into (the) London (Olympics)."
Tomic said the Australians now need to back up their fast start with a strong "back end" -- the final kilometre of their ride.
"We ride fast off the start, and as we get stronger and we do more road the back end is going to come naturally," she said.
"We just need to work on that last kilometre, and we've got a few months to do that." AGENCIES