25th October 2011: British track cycling superstar Sir Chris Hoy has virtually sworn off alcohol in his bid to overhaul Australian Shane Perkins and Frenchman Gregory Bauge at the London Olympic Games.
The Scot, who triumphantly swept the entire sprint program in Beijing in 2008, has revealed he will limit himself to three bottles of wine between now and the July 27 start to the London Games next year.
Hoy won the sprint, keirin and team sprint events in Beijing to stamp himself as the most successful male track sprinter in Olympic history.
But those glory days have subsequently given way to world championship level defeats in all three disciplines, losing the keirin to Perkins and the sprint and team sprint to Bauge and his French colleagues.
Those defeats have now stung Hoy into a renewed level of intensity and professionalism with the London Games only 40 weeks away.
Sobriety will become a key platform to Hoy's approach.
"I've not had a glass of wine or beer for quite a while," he told The Guardian.
"I'll have a bottle of wine after the Kazakhstan World Cup (in Astana next week), that'll be the first for ages, then it's New Year, then hopefully a celebration after the world championships in Melbourne.
"That's three bottles between now and the Olympic Games. It's not like I'm craving alcohol, but the need to relax, let your hair down, do something different.
"You think 'What difference will a bottle of wine make?', but it's not about the Games, it's about next week's training.
"I will race the best I can and if I don't win I'll shake the other guy's hand, he's a better man than me.
"But I don't want to not win and start thinking 'I did that appearance, the week after the training wasn't great, it had a knock-on effect to the week after,' or 'I went out for two beers and had six because a mate was back in town'.
"That doesn't affect London directly, but the whole process. If you look at a good season you can find a certain point when it kicks off, a good week in a month away, it becomes three weeks, then four.
"The whole thing is about morale, momentum, and it can go the opposite way. You have a bad session, you feel a bit crap, and go downhill."
Perkins will attempt to defend his rainbow jersey at Hisense Arena in April in the final qualifying event before the London Games.
There will be four World Cup events - Astana, Cali, Beijing and London - leading up to Melbourne's staging of the world titles.
Hoy will team with 2000 Olympic gold medallist Jason Queally in the team sprint in Astana next week.
Perkins and Bauge will also contest the Astana round of the series.
Thanks to the Herald Sun