Ethan Vernon helps set fastest ever time by a Great Britain team pursuit quartet at Tokyo 2020

British squad almost five seconds faster than Olympic gold-medal winning time in Rio 2016

Wednesday, 4th August 2021, 11:41 am
Ethan Vernon prepares to race for Great Britain in the team pursuit at Tokyo 2020 (Photo by PETER PARKS AFP via Getty Images)

Former Bedford School student Ethan Vernon will have gained valuable experience competing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics as the team pursuit quartet clocked the fastest ever time by a Great Britain squad with 3:45.636.

Having won gold in the last three Olympics, Team GB had been hoping for another podium place and the young team - who had already produced their fastest ever performance in qualifying with 3:47.507 - gave themselves a chance by finishing fourth to contest the medals.

But against Denmark in Tuesday’s first round their hopes dramatically ended.

Vernon, 20, Ethan Hayter and Oliver Wood were joined by Charlie Tanfield, replacing Ed Clancy who had announced his retirement with a recurring back injury.

The Danes caught the British team, crashing into Tanfield, which relegated them to battle for seventh and eighth place against Switzerland in yesterday’s (Wednesday) finals at Japan’s Izu Velodrome.

They beat the Swiss, again setting the fastest ever time by a British quartet of 3:45.636 - almost five seconds faster than when GB won gold in Rio in 2016 - as all the top teams continue to improve.

Despite the controversy Denmark went through to win silver and Italy gold in a new world record of 3:42.032.

“We had big shoes to fill for the last few Olympics,” said Ethan, as the quartet spoke to the BBC. “But we are a young team, I’ve only come to the squad in the last year and we’ve really only just started training together, so it’s a good quartet going through to Paris with a few more years experience.”