Chris Hoy optimistic about London 2012 Olympic Games chances
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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Chris Hoy optimistic about London 2012 Olympic Games chances

by VeloNation Press at 6:44 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Track
Scottish rider believes British team is on course

Chris HoyDetermined to improve and to line out in London 2012 in the best shape of his career, triple Olympic champion Chris Hoy believes with the right combination of riders, the Great Britain team sprint squad could improve on the mark they set two and a half years ago

The trio of Hoy, Jamie Staff and Jason Kenny clocked a time of 43.128 seconds en route to gold. It was 0.423 faster than runners-up France, while in qualifying they scorched around the track in 42.950 and set a new world record.

Most expectations are that times in London could be even quicker across the various disciplines, although that could depend on the effects of the stricter UCI regulations about equipment and clothing. At last year’s world track championships in Ballerup, UCI President Pat McQuaid said that anything not commercially available would be blocked in future competitions, thus appearing to rule out the skinsuits and bikes used by British Cycling at the last Games.

Despite that, Hoy is convinced that the team will be every bit as quick, if not quicker. “We have the potential in our squad to go as fast, if not faster, than we did winning gold in Beijing when we broke the world record, but we have a way to go yet,” he wrote in his recent Daily Telegraph blog. “There is work to be done and different combinations of riders to explore. The great thing though is that we are tinkering and striving for more from a position of real strength, with a team who are already world class and winning big medals against the best.

Britain’s track riders have not shown the same dominance in the past year as they did in Beijing. The other nations were closer at the track worlds last March, and at the Commonwealth Games in October Australia dominated when it won twelve out of the 14 track events. England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man took just five silver medals and four bronze.

Hoy and other top riders missed out on those Games in India, preferring to concentrate their efforts on the later European Championship. That was mixed for the Scot; Hoy showed over-confidence in the sprint and was eliminated by Irish rider Felix English in the first round; he was also third in the team sprint.

British riders topped the medal table with three gold, two silver and two bronze medals. France was next closest, matching the silver and bronze haul, but earning one less gold medal. Germany was third with two golds, one silver and two bronze medals.

Since then the team has taken part in two World Cup races. Australia was best on home soil, while Britain was the most successful nation in Cali.

Hoy remains upbeat and believes things are where they should be. “The net result is that our Olympic qualification campaign is well under way and going smoothly, touch wood. Great Britain lead the World Cup series in the team sprint – which is the basis of Olympic qualification – and I have been very pleased with my midseason form.

“As always there are things to work on, both in the team sprint and personally, but everything is moving in the right direction, and it’s quite reassuring to feel you still have scope for improvement, even aged 34!”

He said that he took considerable satisfaction from the team’s performance in the Melbourne World Cup in December. Referring to that display as ‘excellent,’ he said that he always enjoyed training and racing there, as well as the healthy rivalry with the Australians.

That combination proved to be a successful one. “In the team sprint we qualified well and then beat New Zealand in the final with a time of 43.829sec,” he said, clearly pleased. “[it was] an Australian all-comers record, beating the Sydney 2000 Olympic gold medal time. A pretty good ride without being exceptional, if I am being ultra objective.

That said, in terms of overall performances Australia appears to be much closer to Great Britain than it was in the Olympic Games. Many of the southern hemisphere country’s medal winners are also very young, boding well for London 2012. In contrast, a lot of Hoy’s compatriots are either nearing thirty or are older than it, and must try to ensure that they maintain their top speeds for the next year and a half.

If they can do that, their home games will be a ferocious scrap.

The British team will next compete in the Beijing World Cup, which runs between January 21st and 23rd. It has selected a young team of eleven riders, so Hoy will not be travelling.


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