Team GB bosses con­fi­dent of golden Tokyo games

Prepa­ra­tions al­ready un­der way to go big in Ja­pan

Cycling Weekly - - News - Richard Abra­ham in Rio de Janeiro

Af­ter an Olympic Games where Team GB’S suc­cess ex­ceeded all ex­pec­ta­tions, the team’s track bosses are con­fi­dent of con­tin­u­ing the coun­try’s dom­i­nance in the velo­drome into the next Olympics in Tokyo.

Ev­ery Bri­tish rider that took to the boards in Rio won a medal, with golden cou­ple Laura Trott and Ja­son Kenny round­ing off Bri­tain’s dom­i­nant six days in the Rio Olympic Velo­drome with their sec­ond and third of the Games re­spec­tively.

Cy­clists won six golds, four sil­vers and two bronze, ac­count­ing for 18 per cent of Bri­tain’s tally of 67 medals.

Six golds in Rio was one less than Lon­don and two less than Bei­jing but with its Tokyo strat­egy sub­mit­ted to UK Sport and the prom­ise of con­tin­ued lot­tery fund­ing thanks to the suc­cess in Rio, bosses at Bri­tish Cy­cling are op­ti­mistic ahead of the next Olympic cy­cle.

“Ob­vi­ously we’re not go­ing to see Brad or Cav again but a lot of medal win­ners here are com­par­a­tively young,” said GB head coach Iain Dyer. “We have Olympic debu­tants like [sprint­ers] Becky James and Katy Marchant to name just two, who have done a great job and can look for­ward to hope­fully more suc­cess in the future.”

How­ever, on his re­turn home Cavendish de­clined to rule out qual­i­fy­ing for the Tokyo Games. Speak­ing to the BBC he said: “Qual­i­fi­ca­tion for Tokyo comes around in two years’ time, so I don’t have to think about it for the next two years any­way. We’ll see what hap­pens when we get there.”

Dyer added that he was con­fi­dent that the on­go­ing in­quiry into the cul­ture at Bri­tish Cy­cling, set up in the wake of Shane Sut­ton’s res­ig­na­tion amid claims of dis­crim­i­na­tion, would find ev­i­dence of a “cul­ture of suc­cess.”

He said Sut­ton had made “sig­nif­i­cant staffing changes”, in­clud­ing ap­point­ing Heiko Salzwedel as en­durance coach and sprint coach Justin Grace. “If you change your staff, move peo­ple around and play to their strengths, what it serves to high­light is that we must have a fan­tas­tic on­go­ing cul­ture in our or­gan­i­sa­tion.”

Rivals’ re­ac­tions

Rival na­tions have con­tin­ued to cast a critical eye over Bri­tain’s re­sults in Rio, with Ger­man sprint gold medal­list Kristina Vo­gel say­ing, “I don’t want to ac­cuse any­one of any­thing but it is all very ques­tion­able.”

Anna Meares, Aus­tralia’s most dec­o­rated Olympic cyclist said: “We’re all just scratch­ing our heads about how Bri­tain lift so much when in so many events they have not even been in con­tention in ma­jor cham­pi­onships.”

Aus­tralia didn’t win a sin­gle cy­cling gold medal in the Games and Kevin Tabotta, per­for­mance direc­tor of Cy­cling Aus­tralia, said that the team might now con­sider tak­ing “a step back” in or­der to “thrust into” the Olympics, like Bri­tain.

He said. “Now that’s go­ing to take some un­der­stand­ing from fun­ders and also from ath­letes be­cause there’s an ex­pec­ta­tion now in Aus­tralia to per­form ev­ery time we line up at a World Cham­pi­onship.”

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