Olympic drama as Denmark collides with Great Britain rider in Team Pursuit

Danish squad ruled as winners after heat was marred by collision with a distanced GB rider, will race Italy for gold medal Wednesday.

Photo: Getty Images

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There was even more drama than usual at the Olympic Team Pursuit on Tuesday.

The heat between Great Britain and Denmark was marred by a crash, chaos and confusion when the Danish train rode into the back of the distanced British rider, Charlie Tanfield.

Frederik Madsen was leading a charging Danish team to what looked like a convincing victory when he plowed into the back of Tanfield. Tanfield had been dropped from the British unit, however, as the team’s third man, he was still required to complete the race.

With neither team completing the four-kilometer heat, the Games fell into anger and confusion as race officials hesitated in confirming who would go through to the gold medal final Wednesday.

Danish riders were incensed after the collision, possibly due to not knowing Tanfield whether was a racing rider or the dropped fourth man. As the third rider, Tanfield was required to set a time and remain on the racing line, with Denmark required to move around him.


As the teams competing in the fourth heat, the winner of the race between Denmark and Great Britain would go through to race Italy, who took a new world record of 3:42.307 after Filippo Ganna crushed the final laps, for the gold medal.

There was a delay of nearly one hour before it was confirmed that Denmark would advance to compete for gold on the basis that it had caught Great Britain and thus was the outright winner.

“A team is caught when the opposing team (at least 3 riders riding together) arrives at or within a distance of one meter of it,” states UCI regulation 3.2.081.

Team GB has not indicated that it will appeal the decision.

Denmark will now go on to race Italy for gold Wednesday. Team GB will not be able to go for a medal as it needed to achieve one of the two fastest times behind Denmark and Italy to qualify. Instead, the bronze medal will be fought out between New Zealand and Australia.


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