Annette Edmondson, Amy Cure and Melissa Hoskins of Australia compete in the women's team pursuit heats.
Annette Edmondson, Amy Cure and Melissa Hoskins of Australia compete in the women's team pursuit heats. David Ramos

RIO 2016: From hospital bed to Olympic record

CYCLING: Australia's women's team pursuit  put in a brave ride to qualify third fastest in the women's team pursuit on the first day of track cycling in RIo.

Just days after a training crash which left Melissa Hoskins on crutches, the team of Georgia Baker, Amy Cure, Annette Edmondson and Hoskins broke the Olympic record with a time of four minutes 19.059 seconds.

"Everyone says 'it's the Olympics, you want to rise to the occasion' and that right there was a great example of how strong Aussies can be," Hoskins said, who, despite requiring crutches to walk around the velodrome, got on her bike for Australia for the qualifying round.

"The last four days are probably the hardest four days we have had in the last four years," said Hoskins.

"Four days ago I was staring down the barrel of not even riding in the Olympics after training for it for four years, I am very lucky that I have four girls who are so mentally tough.

"But it was very motivating to wake up every day, although I was feeling like I had been hit by a truck, and have four girls out in the lounge room picking me up."

Their time was off the pace set by Great Britain, which set a world record in its heat of 4:13.260.

The defending Olympic champions broke the 4:13.683 mark that Australia set in February last year.

Australia next race against the USA on Sunday at 12.28am for a spot in the medal races.

"Originally when we saw the program, we were actually quite annoyed about the day's break," Hoskins said. "But after Monday we are actually pretty glad we have an extra day to try and recover and get the bruises down and have some ice baths.

"It is not going to be an easy two days, but full credit to these girls I am riding with, they are absolutely fantastic."

In the men's team sprint, Nathan Hart, Patrick Constable and Matthew Glaetzer narrowly missed out on a bronze medal after going down to France by 0.38 sec.

Great Britain then beat New Zealand in the gold medal race with a new Olympic record of 42.440.

Glaetzer and rookie Constable will be back on track for Australia in the men's sprint qualifying at 5am on Saturday. 

The men's pursuit team of Alexander Edmondson, Jack Bobridge, Michael Hepburn and Sam Welsford qualified third fastest for the heats.

They will race against the Denmark team in tomorrow morning's third heat at 6.04am. A win will put them in the gold medal race against the winner of Great Britain and New Zealand. A loss will put them in the bronze medal race.

"The boys would have liked to have gone a bit quicker than that, that's a little below what we're capable of," said Team Leader Kevin Tabotta.

"We fully expected the English (team) would come out and really go after a time today.

"But tomorrow is another day and we're fully expecting to come out in the second round versus Denmark and put something down that can put us into the final."

If Australia and Great Britain win their round one clashes, it will set up a repeat of both the 2012 London Games gold medal final won by the home team, and the 2016 World Championships final won by Australia.



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