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
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

QA Manager - North Manchester - Nuclear & MOD - £40k+

£35000 - £41000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: QA Manager -...

Property Finance Partner

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: LONDON - BANKING / PROPERTY FINANCE - ...

Agile Tester

£28000 - £30000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: An ambitious...

Senior SAP MM Consultant, £50,000 - £60,000, Birmingham

£50000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Senior SAP MM C...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried