Britain’s female cyclists took two gold medals and broke a pair of world records in the process at the Track World Cup on Friday night.
In the team sprint, Victoria Pendleton and Jess Varnish outclassed their Australian rivals (and world champions no less) with a time of 32.754, breaking a world record that had been set by the Aussies earlier that day. Minutes later, the trio of Joanna Roswell, Laura Trott and Dani King won the team pursuit final in 3:18.148, another world record. The men, in the form of Ross Edgar, Jason Kenny and Chris Hoy, later took bronze in the team pursuit, having been edged out of the final the previous day.
To say that the atmosphere was electric would be an understatement. Beneath the Velodrome’s low, dipping roof, the noise from the crowd was immense whenever Team GB took to the track. Listen for yourself: the BBC has a video of the team sprint final.
The Velodrome itself is a beautiful building, finished to a high standard throughout. Widely expected to win last year’s Stirling Prize (it eventually lost out to Brixton’s Evelyn Grace Academy) the arena has become the Olympic Park favourite amongst the general public, its sinuous Pringle-shaped form and wood-panelled exterior exuding a charm and clarity that the Aquatics Centre, with its temporary spectator wings, currently lacks.
Seeing the building in action was a thrilling experience, although the organisers might wish to re-think the ventilation. Far too warm for most of the evening, towards the end some of the doors were left open as people departed, leading to a noticeable drop in temperature. These minor issues are the sort of thing the test events are supposed to iron out, and hopefully the Velodrome will bear witness to some star performances this August. If Team GB can bring the kind of form they showed last night to the Olympics, cycling fans across the country are in for a treat.
The Track Cycling Word Cup finishes tonight. Watch it live on BBC Two from 7pm.
Previously on Londonist: