Brailsford hails golden GB prospects

All-round performance is reward for winter's hard work – but men's team sprint is still a problem

British Cycling's team principal, Dave Brailsford, has described his track squad's haul of four golds, a silver and two bronzes from 10 Olympic events at London's World Cup test event, as "the best across-the-board performance of the last two years". However, he recognises that there is still important work to be done in vital areas.

"We've put in a long, hard winter of training and you can see the green shoots of spring from that," Brailsford said. "We've got the momentum and we're definitely moving forward. We're a lot closer in some events than we thought we would be."

Brailsford said that Sir Chris Hoy setting the bar so high, with gold in the keirin and men's sprint – as well as his ability to turn things around in the way he did after a quarter-final sprint defeat by France's Grégory Baugé – was crucial for the team's motivation.

"Let's face it, that sort of fightback is why he's Sir Chris Hoy," Brailsford said. "It's the sort of experience only racing can give you – and the whole team gets increased self-belief and increased motivation as a result. It builds your momentum."

The "trickle-down" motivational effect of such performances, Brailsford said, was most notable in the progress of younger riders like Laura Trott, who took an unexpected but well-deserved bronze in the women's omnium "after riding phenomenally all weekend".

Brailsford said: "I think she knows she is our Olympic omnium rider, and her team-pursuit training [she was part of a gold-medal-winning line-up on Friday] benefits that. It is feasible to do those six rounds in the omnium and the team pursuit because it'll be far less congested a programme at the Olympic Games, so the fatigue element will be more manageable."

However, the event to which the "work in progress" label remains most stubbornly attached is in the men's team sprint where, nearly four years after Beijing gold, the search to replace the retired Jamie Staff continues.

A try-out with Ross Edgar, a silver medallist in China in the sister discipline of the keirin, as "man one" – the rider whose all-out acceleration brings the squad up to maximum speed in the first lap, arguably the most crucial component of the three-man "train" – delivered only bronze on Friday, and Edgar himself said he was not satisfied with his performance. Many close observers, such as the 1992 track gold medallist-turned-commentator Chris Boardman and Staff himself, believe the best soluation would be Jason Kenny, who rode as man two in Beijing, moving into the man one slot instead. Brailsford indicated as much himself.

"It's the obvious and possible thing to do," he said. "We had a process and a look to see where Ross Edgar is at but, given what's happened here, the theory is obviously that Jason Kenny can go faster than Ross Edgar."

Acknowledging the crucial role played by man one, Brailsford pointed out: "You've got to build the team from the front and go from there."

After the weekend's competition, other team events have a far more definitive line-up, with the 21-year-old Jess Varnish's role as woman one in the victorious team sprint looking increasingly settled. "It's been a massive step forward for her here," Brailsford said.

The same goes for the men's team pursuit. "We didn't do the best European Championships ride and they have worked their socks off over the winter," Brailsford said.

If the riders are moving forward at a pace Brailsford is more than pleased with but had clearly looked for, then one of the biggest factors that could not be calculated by British Cycling's small army of sports scientists beforehand was the exceptionally noisy support from the local fans in the 6,000-seater Velodrome – which has been designed to amplify the effect of the cheering.

Brailsford sees the deafening applause levels as a two-edged weapon, raising adrenalin sky-high but potentially destabilising riders. "This level of noise and support raises the pressure to the point where you may try too hard and pay for that later," he said. "[But] it pushes you higher as well and, for the sprinters, which is an adrenalin-based thing, that can be good. It's very difficult to measure or quantify what difference that home-ground factor can make – but it does make a difference, for sure."

Spokes in the wheel? five issues to settle before Olympics

Men's sprint and keirin

The Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy is ahead of the world sprint champion Jason Kenny for the single berth in London, but the World Championships in April will be the true decider.

Men's team sprint

The search for the best "man one" in the three-strong line-up has been going on for four years and is still unresolved. Moving Kenny from man two partially resolves the issue – but if Kenny moves from man two to man one, who would replace him at man two? Matt Crampton or Ross Edgar?

Men's omnium

Dave Brailsford said Ben Swift, who put in strong rides in individual disciplines but a poorer all-round performance in the much-maligned new omnium event, is "never going to be our rider for that". Which begs the obvious question: Who on earth is?

Women's sprint and keirin

Vicky Pendleton was in stunning form in the team sprint, but a packed schedule did her no favours in the sprint or the keirin. The world championships in March should see progress on both these fronts.

Calls of nature

GB staff complained about too long a walk to the toilets for the riders. The plumbers may yet be back in at the Olympic Velodrome.

Suggested Topics
News
news
Voices
voicesThe Ukip leader on why he's done nothing illegal
Arts & Entertainment
artYouth club owner says mural is 'gift from the sky' so he can prevent closure of venue
News
science
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
Plans to decriminalise non-payment of television licence fees would cost the BBC £500m according to estimates drawn up within the Corporation
people
News
people
Life & Style
The new low cost smartphone of Motorola, 'Motorola Moto G', is displayed in Sao Paulo, Brazil on November 13, 2013. The smartphone, with dimensions 65.9mm W x 129.9mm H x 6.0 - 11.6mm D is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 with quad-core 1,2 GHz CPU, a 4.5-inch display and Android Operating System 4.3 and a suggested price of $ 179 USD.
techData assessing smartphones has revealed tens of millions of phones are at risk of being harvested
Arts & Entertainment
Jessica Pare as Megan Draper and Jon Hamm as the troubled, melancholy Don Draper
tvAnd six other questions we hope Mad Men series seven will answer
Arts & Entertainment
Cody and Paul Walker pictured in 2003.
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Online Advertising Account Executive , St Pauls , London

£26K-30k + Bonus, Private Medical Insurance, Company Pension: Charter Selectio...

Advertising Account Executive - Online, Central London

£25K-28k + Bonus, Private Medical Insurance, Company Pension: Charter Selectio...

Senior Infrastructure Consultant

£50000 - £65000 Per Annum potentially flexible for the right candidate: Clearw...

Public Sector Audit - Bristol

£38000 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Do you have experience of ...

Day In a Page

Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal
Supersize art

Is big better? Britain's latest super-sized art

The Kelpies are the latest addition to a growing army of giant sculptures. But naysayers are asking what a pair of gigantic horse heads tells us about Falkirk?
James Dean: Back on the big screen

James Dean: Back on the big screen

As 'Rebel without a Cause' is re-released, Geoffrey Macnab reveals how its star perfected his moody act
Catch-22: How the cult classic was adapted for the stage

How a cult classic was adapted for the stage

More than half a century after it was published 'Catch-22' will make its British stage debut next week
10 best activity books for children

10 best activity books for children

Keep little ones busy this bank holiday with one of these creative, educational and fun books
Arsenal 3 West Ham United 1: Five things we learnt from the battle between the London sides

Five things we learnt from Arsenal's win over West Ham

Arsenal still in driving seat for Champions League spot and Carroll can make late charge into England’s World Cup squad
Copa del Rey final: Barcelona are paying for their complacency and not even victory over Real Madrid will put things right

Pete Jenson on the Copa del Rey final

Barcelona are paying for their complacency and not even victory over Real Madrid will put things right
Rafa to reign? Ten issues clay courts will serve up this season

Rafa to reign? Ten issues clay courts will serve up this season

With the tennis circus now rolling on to the slowest surface, Paul Newman highlights who'll be making the headlines – and why
Exclusive: NHS faces financial disaster in 2015 as politicians urged to find radical solution

NHS faces financial disaster in 2015

Politicians urged to find radical solution
Ukraine crisis: How spontaneous are the pro-Russian protests breaking out in Ukraine’s east?

Ukraine crisis

How spontaneous are the pro-Russian protests breaking out in Ukraine’s east?
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: The first execution at the Tower of London for 167 years

The first execution at the Tower of London for 167 years

A history of the First World War in 100 moments
Fires could turn Amazon rainforest into a desert as human activity and climate change threaten ‘lungs of the world’, says study

New threat to the Amazon rainforest:

Fires that scorch the ‘lungs of the Earth’
Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City: And the winner of this season’s Premier League title will be...

Who’s in box seat now? The winner of the title will be ...

Who is in best shape to take the Premier League prize?