Glasgow 2014: Wiggins, McGlynn in medal contention

SIR Bradley Wiggins’ return to track cycling has helped inspire England into the final of the men’s team pursuit, where they will face a high-quality Australia foursome.

England's Bradley Wiggins, right, Andy Tennant, Ed Clancy and Steven Burke compete in the men's 4000m team pursuit qualifying round. Picture: Getty

Even though the knight made a welcome appearance here in the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome, he struggled to compete with the fervour surrounding Scotland’s Aileen McGlynn, who is now guaranteed either a silver or gold medal later today.

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McGlynn and Louise Haston, her cohort in the para-cycling tandem sprint event, secured a final berth after overcoming world silver medalists Brandie O’Connor and Breanna Hargrave of Australia, winning the first two heats in a best-of-three-encounter. The result has set up an enticing clash with the Team England pair of Sophie Thornhill and her pilot Helen Scott as they prepare to battle it out for a gold medal later today.

The sight of Wiggins peeling off his tracksuit top in the warm-up area as he prepared to contest the first team pursuit heat was warmly greeted by the capacity crowd, who watched the four-time Olympic champion, along with Ed Clancy, Steven Burke and Andy Tennant, set the then fastest time of 3:59.249 in qualifying. However, the Australian four, featuring reigning world champions Luke Davison and Alex Edmondson, quickly set about beating this time with a ride of 3:57.939.

They will now duel for gold in the afternoon session. The reigning Olympic champion Justin Kenny survived a scare by qualifying for the quarter-finals of the men’s sprint after a repechage win over Scotland’s Callum Skinner and Wales’ Lewis Oliva. Kenny’s countryman Philip Hindes, who won gold in the team sprint event at the London Olympics, misses out, however, after finishing last in his first round repechage heat.