track cylcing, BRAZIL RIO 2016 OLYMPIC GAMES.jpg
Callum Skinner of Great Britain reacts after his team wins the men's Team Sprint competition of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Track Cycling events at the Rio Olympic Velodrome in the Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 11 August 2016
Photograph: EPA/FAZRY ISMAIL

A gold in the track cycling team pursuit has given Bradley Wiggins an eighth Olympic medal for a British record total.

The British team, which included Ed Clancy, Steven Burke and Owain Dowell alongside Wiggins, beat Australia in the final in a world record time of 3 minutes 50.265 seconds. Denmark beat New Zealand in the bronze medal match.

It is Wiggins' fifth gold to go alongside one silver and two bronze from his five visits to the Games.

In addition to his Olympic medals, Wiggins won the 2012 Tour de France and was given a knighthood in 2013.

The British team had already shown their form by setting a world record 3:50.570 in their semi-final, beating the 3:51.659 set at the 2012 London Games.

However, it was Australia who made the faster start to the final, at one point building a lead of 0.695 seconds at the 2-kilometre mark before the Brits began to fight back.

By kilometre 3 the lead was cut to 0.09 seconds and though the British side edged in front, there was late drama as their three finishing cyclists threatened to drift apart and give the Australians an opening.

They held it together, just, to win by 0.743 seconds.

"This is the best of them all," Clancy said in a first television interview. "Truth be told we haven’t won a fat deal between the London Olympics and now.

"Crossing the line there ahead of the Aussies has made every pedal rev and every training session worthwhile. We’ve been through the mill a bit."

Before Rio, Wiggins was tied with fellow cyclist, and fellow knight, Chris Hoy (6-1-0) on seven medals as Britain's most-decorated Olympian.

Gold in the women's team sprint went to China who defeated Russia with bronze going to to Germany. The Chinese pair of Gong Jinjie and Zhong Tianshi also wrote themselves into the history books with a world record performance of 31.982 seconds in the semis.

Earlier Britain's Jason Kenny set an Olympic record of 9.551 seconds in the qualifying heats of the men's individual sprint. On Thursday, Kenny claimed his fourth overall Olympic gold as part of the British team which won the men's team sprint.

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