By Julien Pretot
ST QUENTIN EN YVELINES, France (Reuters) - Francois Pervis showed he has no equal when it comes to racing over one kilometre as he became the first rider in 14 years to scoop a hat-trick of time trial titles at the track cycling world championships on Friday.
A day after successfully defending his keirin title, Pervis held off his challengers by a whisker to pick up his third successive time trial gold.
The 30-year-old, who holds the world record in 56.303, was just above the one-minute barrier, clocking 1:00.207 to beat German Joachim Eilers by 0.087 second.
Matthew Archibald of New Zealand took the bronze in 1:00.470.
Pervis is the first rider since compatriot Arnaud Tournant, who won four years in a row from 1998, to win three consecutive time trial titles.
With six titles to his name, he is now the third most decorated Frenchman on the track at the world championships behind Felica Ballanger (10) and Daniel Morelon (7).
"I thought I had a margin of six tenth of a second and in the end it's a margin of eight thousandth of a second," said Pervis, who now only needs the sprint gold to repeat his three-title success from 2014.
"I was stuck in the final (250-metre) lap but thanks to the support of the crowd I did not feel the pain."
Pervis is now confident he can retain his sprint title, an achievement he did not think he was capable of a few days ago.
"At the beginning I was only thinking about retaining one title but now I'm on the right path," he said when asked if he was up for a slam in front of his home crowd.
"I've done the treble once, why not twice. I'm determined to win the sprint."
The sprint title will be decided on Sunday.
Russian Artur Ershov won gold in the men's points race ahead of Spain's Eloy Teruel Rovira and German Maximilian Beyer, who took silver and bronze respectively.
Australian Rebecca Wiasak claimed gold in the women's individual pursuit by beating American Jennifer Valente with another Australian, Amy Cure, taking the bronze ahead of defending champion Joanna Rowsell of Britain.
With three gold medals, France top the medal table while Britain, who dominated the last Olympics in London, have yet to win a title.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot, editing by Pritha Sarkar)