Tokyo Olympics track racing: USA takes women’s Team Pursuit bronze, Germany and Netherlands claim Pursuit and Sprint golds

USA wins bronze in women's Team Pursuit as Germany gets gold with world record-beating time. Netherlands wins Team Sprint while Italy and Denmark to race for gold in men's Team Pursuit.

Photo: Tim de Waele / Getty Images

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Yet more world records — and riders — fell during a dramatic second day on the track at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Team USA took a bronze medal in the women’s Team Pursuit after beating Canada in the third-place match-up. Meanwhile, Germany obliterated the world record for a third consecutive ride to take the gold medal over Great Britain.

In the men’s competition, Denmark will race for the gold medal against Italy despite crashing heavily during their round one ride. The Danish four were about to pass Great Britain when Frederik Madsen hit the back of Charlie Tanfield, who had been distanced from the first two GB riders

The Netherlands claimed gold in the men’s Team Sprint after consistently setting the quickest time through each of the rounds.

Germany dominates women’s Team Pursuit, bronze for the USA

Germany broke the world record for a third time to take gold
Germany broke the world record for a third time to take gold Photo: Sebastian Kahnert/picture alliance via Getty Images

After a difficult start to the Team Pursuit, Team USA rallied to take bronze after comfortably beating Canada.

The USA made some changes to the team line-up overnight after looking ragged towards the end of their qualifying run.

Megan Jastrab got the call up with Lily Williams sitting out the action for the round one match-up with Great Britain. GB had also made a change in their line-up with Elinor Barker sitting out and Neah Evans stepping in.

Team USA went nearly three seconds quicker than their qualifying run and set a new American record of 4:07.579, but it wasn’t enough to beat the GB team, which broke the world record.

There was a bit of drama post-race as Great Britain’s Katie Archibald crashed into the back of her own teammate on the slow-down lap. Thankfully for the squad, neither rider was seriously injured.

Germany lowered the world record again just a few minutes later to set up a gold medal contest against GB.

The final wasn’t the close-run contest between the two teams that some may have hoped for. Germany took yet another two seconds off the world record to go 4:04.242 as GB went over six seconds slower — perhaps feeling the strain of their earlier crash.

The USA still had a shot and bronze and rode a solid race to beat their fellow North American squad Canada.


  1. Germany
  2. Great Britain
  3. United States
  4. Canada
  5. Australia
  6. Italy
  7. France
  8. New Zealand

Drama in men’s Team Pursuit

Denmark and Great Britain collided in their round one race
Denmark and Great Britain collided in their round one race Photo: Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty Images

The men’s Team Pursuit competition provided yet more drama on the Izu boards as the first round got underway to decide who would get an opportunity to ride for the medals.

After overnight rumors of complaints against various teams, including one filed against the Danish for their use of tape on their shins, all the nations got underway Tuesday.

Italy versus New Zealand was the first face-off for Wednesday’s gold medal. It was a close battle but the men in blue came out triumphant, setting a new world record of 3:42.307 in the process. New Zealand was less than a tenth of a second behind Italy, doing more than enough to put them in the bronze medal contest.

Denmark against Great Britain was the final race of round one and the Dane’s were the overwhelming favorites to go through after smashing the world record in qualifying.

GB had been forced to make a change to its line-up overnight after three-time Olympic champion Ed Clancy had to pull out through injury, with Charlie Tanfield taking over his spot. Following his decision to pull out, Clancy also announced his intentions of retiring at the end of the year.

Denmark set off at a blistering pace and began reeling in the British team, which had already lost one rider before Tanfield was distanced. Frederik Madsen was leading the Danish squad as it closed in on Tanfield.

Seemingly unaware of the rider in front of him, Madsen rode straight into the back of Tanfield, and the pair came down. After much confusion, it was deemed under the rules that Denmark had made the catch and therefore won the contest. Tanfield rode to the finish after getting back up, but the time was well off the pace needed to secure a ride in the bronze medal battle.

Instead, Australia will go up against New Zealand for the final spot on the podium.

The races for the medals

  • Gold: Denmark v Italy
  • Bronze: New Zealand v Australia

Men’s Team Sprint

Harrie Lavreysen celebrates the Dutch win in the team sprint
Harrie Lavreysen celebrates the Dutch win in the team sprint Photo: Tim de Waele / Getty Images

The Netherlands reaffirmed its spot as the best sprinting nation in the world, taking a dominating victory in the men’s Team Sprint. While they couldn’t manage to beat its own world record, the trio of Jeffrey Hoogland, Harrie Lavreysen, and Roy van den Berg never looked in doubt for gold as they consistently went quickest in all three rounds.

Great Britain went up against the Netherlands in the final after dispatching with Germany in round one. The team had to bury themselves to oust the strong German squad and it showed in the final.

Splits began to show in the GB line under the strain of trying to keep pace with the charging Netherlands. GB had to dig deep to limit the damage on the final lap but there was nothing to be done as the Netherlands won by over three seconds and stopped the clock at 41.396 to set a new Olympic record.

There were similar scenes in the bronze medal race between France and Australia. Matthew Glaetzer lost the wheel of the rider in front and was forced into an almighty effort to try and pull it back.

In the end, it was the French team that had the pace for the final medal spot.


  1. Netherlands
  2. Great Britain
  3. France
  4. Australia
  5. Germany
  6. Russian Olympic Committee
  7. New Zealand
  8. Poland

An American in France

What’s it like to be an American cyclist living in France? Watch to get professional road cyclist Joe Dombrowski’s view.