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Cycling at the 1948 London Summer Games:

Men's Team Pursuit, 4,000 metres

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Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): Herne Hill Velodrome, London
Date Started: August 7, 1948
Date Finished: August 9, 1948

Gold: FRA France
Silver: ITA Italy
Bronze: GBR Great Britain

Summary

The two best teams in the world were easily France and Italy. France had won the gold medal in 1936, while Italy had won four consecutive Olympics titles from 1920-1932. A year before the Olympics, in a pre-Olympic tune-up on the Herne Hill track, France had defeated the British team by over two seconds. France, Italy, and Great Britain were joined in the semi-finals by the surprising Uruguayans. Italy was led by the 1947 World Champion in the individual pursuit, Arnaldo Benfenati, while Uruguay’s team was led by Attilio François, who had lost to Benfenati in the 1947 final. In the first semi, France defeated Britain by just under five seconds. The second semi was no closer, Italy winning by almost six seconds, and the two favorites made it thru to the final. In the final, the Italians got off quickly, leading by two lengths after three laps, and four lengths after seven laps. But France ground them down near the finish, and overtook Italy with two laps remaining, despite dropping a rider. But the Italians had nothing left, and two of their riders went off the back. As the time in the team pursuit is taken when the third rider crosses the line, France won by almost 40 seconds. For the third consecutive Olympics, the team pursuit podium consisted of France, Italy, and Great Britain. For the British, it was their fourth consecutive bronze medal in the event, and they would continue this streak in 1952 and 1956. The French were led by Charles Costé, who would later win Paris-Limoges in 1953 as a professional. Another teammate, Serge Blusson, won the amateur race, Paris-Evreux, in 1949, then as a professional, won the Grand Prix de Plouay in 1953, the Tour de Picardie in 1957, and finished third at Milan-San Remo in 1952.

Final Standings

Rank Team NOC Medal
1 France FRA Gold
2 Italy ITA Silver
3 Great Britain GBR Bronze
4 Uruguay URU
5T Australia AUS
5T Belgium BEL
5T Denmark DEN
5T Switzerland SUI
1 h8 r2/5 Finland FIN
2 h1 r2/5 Canada CAN
2 h2 r2/5 Austria AUT
2 h3 r2/5 Argentina ARG
2 h4 r2/5 India IND
2 h5 r2/5 Netherlands NED
2 h6 r2/5 United States USA