Britain geared for another golden haul

On a wet and windswept day British cycling is forecasting rainbows in Manchester as it takes on the world at the city's Velodrome, starting today.

On a wet and windswept day British cycling is forecasting rainbows in Manchester as it takes on the world at the city's Velodrome, starting today.

That confident prediction came from team chief Peter Keen whose performance plan made British riders the talk of the Olympic track in Sydney.

A gold, silver and two bronze medals - the best Olympic haul for 80 years - enables a British official to talk confidently and plurally about medals at the World Track Championships here.

"Realistically we could win five medals. We will be targeting events strategically to maximise our medal-winning potential," said Keen, who devised and directs the Lottery- funded programme that has developed home-grown talent.

Britain's golden moments are spread down the years, and a "rainbow", cycling's tag for the multi-coloured hooped jersey of a world champion, has warmed a few British shoulders. Chris Boardman, Graeme Obree, Colin Sturgess, Tony Doyle and Hugh Porter kept the flag flying with 11 pursuit titles over 28 years from 1968.

Porter won four of them to keep the momentum going after Beryl Burton's successes throughout the 1960s when she won seven titles on track and road. Before the First World War Leon Meredith and Bill Bailey were regularly on top of the podium with fellow Britons often occupying the silver and bronze positions.

Keen's target of five medals revives these memories, but he is aware of the task of keeping his riders on the boil.

"It's difficult peaking for two major events so close together. The challenge for everyone will be to lift their performance after only one month following the Olympics," he said. "This is a new challenge for everyone." And a refreshing change from the time when British teams returned from championships with only excuses to offer.

The fact that the gap has closed between British performances and those of the major cycling nations is down to Keen's plan which impressed sufficiently to land Lottery cash by the millions.

Without the funding restrictions normally imposed on a sport that is not mainstream in Britain, he was able to prepare his riders properly, and Manchester's Velodrome was their "umbrella" against the fickle summer weather.

With this indoor 250-metre track racers could train the year round, and it also attracts novice riders to drop-in sessions where they are coached in racing skills. One such beginner was Jason Queally who five years later found himself hardly believing that he was waving to a packed stadium in Sydney whilst wearing an Olympic gold medal.

The previous year Queally and team-mates Chris Hoy and Craig MacLean had won the Olympic sprint, a timed team race, at the European championships, and taken silver behind France in the World championships in Berlin.

"Chris and Craig have got very good form so there's a good chance we might go the whole way to gold," said Queally, who found his way to cycling via triathlons. "I am looking forward to the championships at a home venue and home support which is going to be very uplifting for the whole team."

Britain's Olympic success is reflected in the interest in the Manchester event. Three of the five days are already sold out at the 5,000-capacity Velodrome.

Queally's dream of a golden double, with a world kilometre time trial gold to go with his Olympic medal, will be tested in front of the first-night crowd by current champion Arnaud Tournant. The Frenchman's failure in Sydney - he finished fifth - is the spur he needed to recapture the form that gave him the world record three months earlier. Until then he had been unbeaten over a kilometre for three years.

The Olympic sprint is on Saturday and, with Queally and company having come within four tenths of a second of beating France in Sydney, the scene is set for British success. The French will be without double Olympic champion Florian Rousseau who helped power them to three world crowns.

Similarly, Germany, Olympic and world champions in the 4,000-metre team pursuit, will lack Robert Bartko who added the individual pursuit gold to his world title in Sydney. With the Ukrainian silver medallists not showing, Britain, who won bronze in Sydney, should have a golden glint in their eyes.

Yvonne McGregor's hopes will rise from her Olympic pursuit bronze to a greater value medal in the women's pursuit where the main opposition will come from defending champion Marion Clignet of France.

Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
life
Life and Style
Researchers have said it could take only two questions to identify a problem with alcohol
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
A still from Duncan Campbell's hour-long film 'It for Others'
Turner Prize 2014
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hadley in a scene from ‘Soul Boys Of The Western World’
musicSpandau Ballet are back together - on stage and screen
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Ed Stoppard as Brian Epstein, Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Elliott Cowan as George Martin in 'Cilla'
tvCilla review: A poignant ending to mini-series
News
i100
Life and Style
Bearing up: Sebastian Flyte with his teddy Aloysius in Brideshead Revisited
lifePhilippa Perry explains why a third of students take a bear to uni
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Alan Sugar appearing in a shot from Apprentice which was used in a Cassette Boy mashup
artsA judge will rule if pieces are funny enough to be classed as parodies
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Primary Teacher Plymouth

£23500 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: ***KS1 & KS2 Teach...

Primary Teacher Cornwall

£23500 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: ***KS1 & KS2 Teachers ...

LSA (afterschool club) vacancy in Newport

£40 per day + Travel Scheme : Randstad Education Cardiff: The Job: Our client ...

Trust Accountant - Kent

NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style