GB boss upbeat despite medal drought
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Monday, September 28, 2009

GB boss upbeat despite medal drought

by Ben Atkins at 3:29 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, World Championships
On the surface, Great Britain’s performance at last week’s World Championships in Varese looks disappointing. A technical problem denied Bradley Wiggins a probable bronze medal in the time trial, and a crash and mechanical issues in the road race for captain David Millar saw him fail to finish the race. Emma Pooley was the best-placed woman in both the time trial and road race finishing 11th and 14th respectively, as defending champion Nicole Cooke was unable to perform. The only bright stars shining – and the only top-ten results – for the team in the whole weekend were a seventh place for Alex Dowsett in the under-23 time trial and 4th for Peter Kennagh in the under-23 road race.

Despite the lack of senior results, British Cycling’s Performance Director David Brailsford refused to be negative, citing the team’s unity as something to take forward in the coming years. "The main goal from [the road race] was to ride as a team,” he told BBC Sport. “It's the first time we've had nine riders.

"Dave [Millar] was unlucky, he crashed early on, hurt his knee. That was really unfortunate because the guys were really doing a good job”

The course at Mendrisio proved too tough for the majority of the British riders with Steve Cummings the better of only two finishers in 52nd place. The next two years will be different though, he claimed, where Great Britain will have a rider among the hot favourites for victory. "That's something we can take forward,” he said of the good teamwork. “With Melbourne [2010] and Copenhagen [2011] coming up, the flatter course suits Mark Cavendish."

"Nicole didn't have great form coming here,” he said of defending champion Cooke’s lack of performance in the women’s road race. "She's been a great servant to us and she'll be back in the future.”

He also saw cause for optimism in Wiggins’ time trial, despite his medal chances ending in such dramatic fashion. "Bradley was on a good ride,” he said. “He would have definitely got the bronze. He's right up there as one of the best time triallists in the world and he proved that again."

The performance of Dowsett and Kennaugh in the under-23 races is where Brailsford sees one of the team’s big positives from the championships. "That's the third year on the trot we've been in the top four,” he explained, “which shows the good talent coming through to the senior ranks."

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