By Martyn Herman

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Britain set a track cycling world record in the women's team pursuit on Thursday shortly after the men had clocked an Olympic best in team sprint qualifying.

The quartet of Katie Archibald, Laura Trott, Elinor Barker and Joanna Rowsell-Shand, completed 4,000 meters of the velodrome in four minutes 13.260 seconds to lead qualifying.

It surpassed the mark of Australia (4:13.683) set at last year's world championships.

The U.S. team led by Sarah Hammer, and boasting a unique bike with the chain on the left-hand side, were second fastest, having threatened to go even quicker.

The world champions set 4:14.286.

Women's team pursuit medals will be decided on Saturday.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis)