Pendleton believes Britain can still dominate in Rio despite falling off the track gold standard

GB have managed silver medals in each of the team pursuit disciplines at the current track world championships

Great Britain’s aura of invincibility may have slipped since the 2012 Olympics, but Victoria Pendleton remains optimistic for the Rio de Janeiro Games in 18 months’ time.

Britain won seven out of 10 track cycling medals at the 2008 Beijing Games and equalled the haul four years later in London, where Pendleton claimed her second gold medal before retiring.

GB have managed silver medals in each of the team pursuit disciplines at the current track world championships in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, the team’s best-ever haul by the third day of this event. But Pendleton has no doubt there is more to come from the dominant track cycling nation of the last decade.

Asked her prediction for the British gold medal haul in Rio, Pendleton said: “There’s a good chance of half of them [five]. The people they’ve got in position, within the team, as riders and staff, are the best out there.

“Yes, there’s a lot that has to be done, but there will be a much more intense focus for the Olympics and these guys do rise to the occasion.”

The 2015 world championships are the first on the track since Sir Dave Brailsford officially relinquished his role as British Cycling performance director to concentrate on Team Sky, leading to Shane Sutton’s promotion to technical director – and a brotherly rivalry for the lead-up to Rio.

Australia coach Gary Sutton said: “With my brother there, anything’s achievable.

“We can’t control what the Brits do. We control what we’re doing. We know there’s still a long way to go till Rio. We’re going into Rio, we’re going to be well prepared.

“I feel confident we’ve got a lot of room to move.”

The defeat of Katie Alexander, Laura Trott, Elinor Barker and Jo Rowsell  to Australia in the women’s team pursuit final was a first British loss in  the event in more than four years, ending a run of four successive world titles. But Pendleton added: “It was going to happen sooner or later; better now than at the Olympics.”

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