Australia have smashed the world record to win gold in the women’s team pursuit at the track cycling world championships in Paris.

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Australia took almost three seconds off the world record to upset four-time reigning champions Great Britain in the final.

Annette Edmondson, Ashlee Ankudinoff, Amy Cure and Melissa Hoskins posted a new best-ever time of 4 minutes 13.683 seconds.

Great Britain previously held the world record of 4:16.552, which they set at altitude in Mexico in late 2013.

The British quartet posted a time of 4:16.702 to take silver.

Canada (4:17.864) beat New Zealand for the bronze.

Earlier on Thursday evening (Friday morning AEDT), Australia lowered the national record for the second day running when they progressed to the gold-medal race by speeding around France’s new national velodrome in 4:17.410.

That time shaved 0.7 seconds off the national record the women set on the opening day of competition.

The new mark was 3.5 seconds lower than the national record the same four women set at the Australian national championships three weeks ago.

But the new world record is a full seven seconds faster than that Melbourne time.

Great Britain have won the past four world championship titles and were previously undefeated at any major meet during that period.

Australia last won gold in 2010 and have now finished on the podium six times at the past seven track worlds.

Coach Gary Sutton told AAP after the race he’d had the women on a world record schedule because he thought that’s what was needed to beat the British team.

“It wasn’t about the world record, it was about winning,” he said.

“The schedule was 4:16 and they were well under that but they were always comfortable.”

Nevertheless, Sutton was surprised too see the timing board flash 4:13.683.

“They went a lot better than I thought – but we’ve seen it coming.”

The Australians could start to see the British squad up ahead on the track towards the end which gave them added incentive.

Hoskins said it was “phenomenal” to take seven seconds off the national record in three weeks.

“But we went into the ride just wanting the rainbows,” she told AAP.

“It’s been five years in the making and we wanted it bad.

“To get a world record, a national title, as well as the rainbows – it’s a great day out for us.”

The 23-year-old said every team lifts for a final “but we just happened to lift more than them (the British)”.

“They’ve had a cracker run but finally we got one up on them.”

Edmondson said it felt like the quartet was flying on Thursday night.

However she was too busy celebrating after crossing the line to realise the Australians had smashed the world record.

“It took me about two laps before I looked up and saw the time,” Edmondson told AAP.

“It’s absolutely incredible. I Can’t believe it.”