Hoy and Pendleton spearhead British track world championship charge
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hoy and Pendleton spearhead British track world championship charge

by Conal Andrews at 7:46 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Track

Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton will this week line out in the world track championships in Ballerup, Copenhagen, and both are motivated to add to their collection of gold medals.

Hoy missed out on last year’s worlds due to a bad crash at a World Cup round held in the same velodrome. Rather on dwelling on what happened there just over twelve months ago, he said that he can draw on positive memories from the Danish track.

"When you try and place a venue, you always remember when you've been there in the past," said Hoy to the Guardian. "When I turned up last time I had a flashback to 2002 when I won world titles for the first time [with victory in the kilometre and team sprint], so I've got positive things to remember as well as the crash."

His team-mate Victoria Pendleton is attempting to take the world sprint title for the fifth time in six years (and fourth year in a row). She told the newspaper that the squad is more motivated than it was one year ago.

"Everyone was still post-Olympic, there was a bit of anti-climax, the season had come round really quickly because everyone had so much on,” she explained. “A lot of elements were quite different from the Olympic and pre-Olympic campaign. Team morale was not what it had been in the Olympics."

Part of the British team’s dominance in recent years – and in the 2008 Olympics – is due to meticulous preparation. Thanks to constant monitoring of data, the riders will know if they are on track or not, and can make adjustments to their training if necessary.

"Being a track sprinter, when it's all about a thousandth of a second, there is no escaping the numbers every single day. We have a book…and everyone's numbers are written in there,” she explained. “You check your powermeter to back up the numbers and draw the positives or the negatives from what the numbers say. There is no escaping a good or a bad day. It's all black and white, all documented."

She said that the male competitors have even greater pressure to deal with, as there is such a fight to even get on the team. "The boys feel it in every training session because they have much closer competition for places. It's a big team and they are really stepping up. It makes it hard because if you are having a bad day, you can guarantee that someone will be having a good day. But they need those numbers, because it is a team environment and they need to know where every individual is."

2012 takes precedence

Hoy, Pendleton and the rest of the British team will undoubtedly do their utmost to succeeded this week, and to show that they have recovered from what was a slightly disappointing campaign in 2009. But both of the aforementioned sprinters say that London 2012 is what really counts.

"It would be great to be world champion again and get that jersey on my back, but at the same time it's a stepping stone towards London," Hoy said. "I would gladly sacrifice any medal in future to be champion in London."

Pendleton feels the same way. Without diminishing her drive to ride well in Ballerup, she said that the championships will see the team experiment a little in the search for improvement. The focus is there, but also on the Games in two years.

“It's all about trying things now, because the next two years will be about getting it right in our preparation for the Olympics,” she said. “Shane Sutton [head coach] has been clear this is about going out and doing a really good job, but after this is when it really starts to count. It's about learning things we can take to next year and the year after when we have to qualify for the Olympics. There is no great pressure, only what's within ourselves".

Both riders are however perfectionists, and it is certain that such talk is a way of dampening down expectations and reducing pressure. None of their competitors will believe for a moment that they are in Denmark with anything other than a full determination to add to their medal haul.



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