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.

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: Business Analyst - 12 Month FTC - Entry Level

£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Chefs - All Levels

£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...

Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Engineer

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive & Customer Service - Call Centre Jobs!

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

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy