By Mike Rowbottom

Darren Kenny_Sarah_Storey_and_Jody_Cundy_13-02-12February 12 - One gold medal and a world record in the men's tandem sprint event, as well as two silvers in the mixed team sprint and the women's sprint saw Britain finish top of the medals table at the UCI Para-Cycling Track World Championships in Los Angeles, the last chance for teams to earn qualification points to determine the size of teams in London 2012.

In men's tandem sprint discipline Anthony Kappes, piloted by the Sydney 2000 Olympic silver medallist Craig MacLean, set a world record of 10.032sec in qualifying and finished the fourth and last day as champion.

In the mixed team sprint, the new line-up of Darren Kenny, Sarah Storey and Jody Cundy qualified first in the final, but ultimately could not match China's impressive pace.

Britain has been unbeaten in the event since 2007, so the silver came as a shock to the team made up of multiple Paralympic champions.

The British challenge was undermined in the final at the start of the first lap when Storey slipped through the attachment on her handlebar, which she uses to compensate for the lack of grip caused by her disability.

"I slipped out of it in the first banking which gave me an even bigger gap on Darren than this morning," Storey said.

"The one thing that has never happened before, happened today, which is very annoying."

After the race, Cundy said: "We gave it all, but we lost to the better team today.

"Unfortunately, we had some issue with Sarah's handlebar attachment, which had a deadly knock on effect.

"But we've got a lot of things technically, that we can pick up easy, free speed.

"The team sprint race has been a lot more competitive than we expected, but we're not a million miles off from where we were last year and from where we need to be right now.

"I don't think we're out of this at all, I think we're in a strong place for London."

helen scott_and_aileen_mcglynn_13-02-121
There was also silver for Britain's Aileen McGlynn and Helen Scott (pictured) in the women's tandem sprint.

In the semi-final Britain had beaten the Irish pair of Catherine Walsh and Francine Meehan, who nevertheless capped off a very successful Championships for the Irish team by taking the bronze in the ride-off with Germany.

The event asserted Britain's dominance in the kilo and the men's tandems and revealed the true potential of Briton Mark Colbourne, who made a brilliant track debut with a win in the C1 pursuit and silver in the C1 kilo.

Britain finished with eight golds, seven silvers and two bronzes, but the Championships also indicated work requiring to be done in other areas, according to lead coach Chris Furber.

"We knew the standard here was going to be high but it's been tougher than we expected," he said, referring to the performances of Australia, Ireland and China.

"It's been a bit of a wakeup call for some riders and we've got to work really hard between now and the Games to stay in front where we are in front and get in front where we're not."

Furber alluded to possible changes to Britain's strategy for London, saying: "We now need to look at the data to see if we can spread ourselves more thinly across more events or whether it's within our best interest to focus on one event.

"I know I would rather go away with one gold medal than two silvers and riders will feel exactly the same."

"However, we are in the medal mix and that's really important because if you're in the medal mix here, you're going to be competitive in London.

"From that point of view [17 medals] we've done very well."

The Irish team returns home from the Championships with two gold medals, a silver and a bronze to finish seventh overall out of the 31 countries who took part in the event.

The British Para-cycling team will now shift its focus to the road in preparation for the Para-Cycling Road World Cup series before preparations for the track take centre stage again nearer the Games.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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