By Martyn Herman
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Britain crushed their American rivals to win the women's track cycling pursuit title in another world record time as the two fastest teams locked horns for gold at the Olympics on Saturday with the expected close battle ending in a romp.
After trailing early on, the quartet of Laura Trott, Katie Archibald, Elinor Barker and Joanna Rowsell-Shand cranked up the pace to devastating effect, winning in 4:10.236 -- nearly two seconds quicker than the world record they set in the heats.
Sarah Hammer's U.S. team had thrown down the gauntlet with a world record of their own in the morning heats only to see Britain respond almost immediately.
And they were no match for the British in the final as the U.S. wait for a gold in Olympic women's track cycling goes on.
Britain won by just over two seconds to match the feat of the Bradley Wiggins-inspired men's team who beat Australia to win gold on Friday, also in a world record time
Canada secured only its second Olympic medal in women's track cycling, beating New Zealand for bronze.
The U.S. challenge withered as Britain, line astern and working in perfect harmony with Trott setting the tempo, gave a clinical masterclass in pursuiting.
Britain now have four medals in the track program which is only into its third day -- three of them gold.
Trott became the first British woman to win three Olympic titles, while Rebecca James won silver in the keirin minutes later in the Rio velodrome.
"I couldn't be more proud of our team. It was about four individuals riding round as one," she told reporters.
"I've never been in a team that feels so seamless.
"We broke the world record in training so we knew a world record was on the cards in the qualifier."
The world record was broken four times during the women's team pursuit competition with Britain having also lowered it in Thursday's qualifiers.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman, Editing by Alison Williams and Ken Ferris)