Cycling: Shane Sutton predicts Team GB destined for 'greatness' at Rio 2016 Olympics

Britain impress at the World Championship

Greatness is not a word regularly thrown around with reckless abandon among the British Cycling hierarchy but head coach Shane Sutton believes the new breed of track cyclists are destined for just that.

In the absence of performance director Dave Brailsford, who has been focusing on Team Sky, Sutton has overseen the team here in Minsk, which consisted of experienced riders like Jason Kenny but in which the average age of the gold medallists was just 21.

Britain won five golds to maintain their place as the world's leading track cycling nation, and Sutton warned their rivals that he expected more to come from a team which consisted of six World Championship debutants, two of whom, Simon Yates and Elinor Barker, came away with rainbow jerseys.

"This team is heading towards greatness in four years' time," said Sutton. "They're joined already as a team, they're a very young squad and they all get on. They're all on the same page."

With such a young squad, many of them experiencing the world stage for the first time, the appetite for medals at every championship seems greater than ever before, perhaps surprising in the year after an Olympics.

Whatever the success in Belarus, British Cycling loves its number-crunching and all the various statistics will still be geared towards one ultimate goal once more, the next Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Looking ahead to 2016, Sutton said: "If you're working from platforms and data and whatever, if you look to where we were at the beginning of the last Olympic cycle, I think we're in a much stronger position, a much healthier position, you can virtually name your team for Rio now."

A slight exaggeration maybe but the foundations are already laid for the Olympics. While the basis of the women's squad now seems pretty clear, with Jo Rowsell likely to return to what will be a four-woman line-up in the pursuit, and Jess Varnish and Becky James set to lead the sprint aspirations.

Vicky Williamson adds a potential alternative while Sutton admitted that Danielle Khan and Rosie Blount would travel to the next sprint camp in Majorca for the first time.

The exact make-up of the men's team sprint and team pursuit line-ups are far from finalised. The issue of man three in the sprint remains unresolved in a post-Chris Hoy Olympics. It is still hoped that Kian Emadi can do the role and it's worth remembering that man one, Philip Hindes, only made his debut in the line-up three months before the Olympics and went on to catapault the team to gold.

There are plenty of alternative line-ups for the pursuit but Sutton said he did not expect either Bradley Wiggins or Geraint Thomas to slot back, which had been mooted previously.

"In Brad's case, I've always said there is a possibility but the longer time goes on and Brad puts another couple of Tours in his legs, I think it would be a big call for him," said Sutton. "As far as G [Thomas] is concerned we are not doing our jobs if G can come back and ride team pursuit in four years' time because we should be going too quick. He won't come back. The more time you spend out on the road, the more you deplete that speed and we need to be fast."

There are three more World Championships between now and Rio, and Sutton has set his riders the challenge of topping the medal table at each and every juncture.

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
News
Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executives - Outbound & Inbound

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Recruitment Genius: National Account Manager / Key Account Sales

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment Consultant

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have an excellent role for a...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'