Brailsford Surprised by British Performances

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UCI Track Cycling World Cup Series

UCI Event UCI World Cup, London
17th-19th February 2012
London, UK



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Brailsford Surprised by British Performances


Brailsford Surprised by British Performances

22nd February 2012: British Cycling performance director Dave Brailsford is confident his charges are timing their run to the Olympic Games to perfection.

Great Britain won seven medals from 10 Olympic events - four gold, one silver and two bronze - plus Joanna Rowsell's gold in the non-Olympic individual pursuit at the weekend's Track World Cup in a competition which doubled as the 2012 Games test event.

And Brailsford, who masterminded Britain's haul of seven gold medals from 10 events in Beijing in 2008, hailed his team as the Olympic track programme approaches from August 2 to 7.

"This is the best performance across the board for a good couple of years," Brailsford said.

"It shows we're building momentum, we're heading in the right direction and hopefully we've got our timing right.

"We're definitely moving forward and we're a lot closer in some events than maybe we thought. It's very pleasing.

"If we can build on this momentum then it could be good fun."

Brailsford has repeatedly said that - partially as a result of changes to the Olympic track programme - replicating the haul from China is unlikely.

However, if the London competition was about managing expectation, the displays perhaps only served to fuel it.

Brailsford said: "It can't be any higher than it was already. After Beijing the expectation's always been there. But it's only something in your mind, it's not tangible.

"You can decide whether you want to feel anxiety or pressure or not. We don't, so I'm not worried about the expectation."

A 6,000-capacity partisan crowd roared every revolution made by a Briton and Brailsford believes the experience was invaluable.

He added: "It's very difficult to quantify the effect of a home velodrome and home crowd. I think we've seen some of it this weekend - it does make a difference."

Sir Chris Hoy led from the front with a haul of two individual gold medals - in the Keirin and sprint - and a team sprint bronze to demonstrate that, although his 36th birthday is fast approaching, his talent remains formidable.

Brailsford praised Hoy and the performances of the team pursuit squads - the women won gold in a world record time, the men finished runners-up to Australia - the women's team sprint squad of Victoria Pendleton and Jess Varnish and the coming of age of 19-year-old Laura Trott, who won team pursuit gold and omnium bronze.

"Where they were at the Europeans (clocking 4:01.475 last October to win gold), it wasn't their best performance," said Brailsford of the men's team pursuit squad of Ed Clancy, Geraint Thomas, Steven Burke and Peter Kennaugh.

"If you just take our performance, where it was and where it is now, they have made big strides forward and they're going to continue to get better.

"The way she (Trott) has ridden here is phenomenal. She's only young, she's only going to get better.

"At the other end of the spectrum, you've got Chris Hoy coming back into the form of his life.

"If he continues to build on what he's got now, he's going to be right in the mix."

The changes to the track programme have also altered the number of competitors each nation can field - with one rider or team per nation per event permitted, meaning a multiple haul in a single event is no longer possible.

That pits Hoy against Jason Kenny, current world champion and Beijing silver medallist, for the sprint berth.

Hoy appeared to take the initiative in the duel by winning the event in London, but Brailsford is prepared to wait to see Kenny's response at April's Track Cycling World Championships in Melbourne.

Brailsford said: "He (Hoy) has come out of this very well, but that doesn't rule anything out. None of the decisions are made yet.

"We'll see where we are come April, May."

Notable commentators including Chris Boardman and Jamie Staff have suggested Kenny should focus his attentions on the crucial man one role in the three-man, three-lap team sprint, which Germany won from France.

It was a role fulfilled by Ross Edgar on Friday, but Kenny has previously performed in the position, which is crucial to slingshot the riders following in the team.

Brailsford said: "We're going to have to look at that very carefully.

"It's an obvious and logical thing to do (to select Kenny). We decided we'd look to see where Ross was at, but given our performance here, you've got to go faster and you've got to build it from the front."

Content - ESPN


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