Great Britain's team pursuit reign comes to an end after chaotic Denmark crash

3 August 2021, 16:00 | Updated: 3 August 2021, 16:22

Great Britain's Charlie Tanfield picks up his bike after being crashed into by Denmark’s Frederik Madsen in the men’s team pursuit
Great Britain's Charlie Tanfield picks up his bike after being crashed into by Denmark’s Frederik Madsen in the men’s team pursuit. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

Great Britain's hope of a fourth straight gold in the men's team pursuit came to a dramatic end after a controversial crash with Denmark in the velodrome.

Their reign as Olympic champions ended bizarrely after Danish rider Frederik Madsen crashed into the late replacement for Ed Clancy, Charlie Tanfield.

Tanfield had been left behind by his British team-mates and was riding alone - still in the race - when he was hit from behind by Madsen, with both competitors hitting the deck.

Immediately after the crash, Madsen shouted at Tanfield as the British rider lay on the inside of the track and swore towards his own team-mates as he walked away.

Cycling's governing body, the UCI, deliberated for half an hour before announcing that Denmark would compete against Italy on Wednesday, with Team GB leaving empty handed.

The controversial crash followed a number of teams reportedly calling for the Danes to be disqualified during the qualifiers earlier this week.

British Cycling performance director Stephen Park confirmed Britain had been one of "several" teams to call for the Danes to be disqualified over the use of illegal equipment in Monday's qualifying session.

The team was seen with plasters on their shins in a bid to improve their aerodynamics, while also apparently wearing undervests which had not been properly registered in time.

Read more: Laurel Hubbard: First transgender athlete to compete at Olympics eliminated

Read more: Simone Biles pulls out of women's team final at Tokyo Olympics citing mental health

Park said that at a lively meeting of teams before Tuesday's session, the UCI confirmed the equipment could not be used for the rest of the competition but indicated there would be no retroactive punishment despite rules saying a team should face elimination in such circumstances.

"There was a fairly heated debate about whether the UCI were or were not going to apply their own rules about (the tape) and about undervests," Park said.

"A number of the teams including ourselves have gone to huge lengths to make sure we are legal and have checked every single item with the UCI, as required by the regulations before we got here.

"As have a number of other teams. Not surprisingly us and them are pretty disappointed that now there are teams turning up using undervests that are not part of the equipment registered."