British Cycling chief prepared to deny Chris Hoy chance to defend Olympic titles

 

British Cycling head coach Shane Sutton would not be afraid to deny Sir Chris Hoy the chance to defend all three of his Olympic titles at London 2012.

Hoy is hoping to emulate his historic hat-trick from four years ago when he won gold in the sprint, team sprint and keirin in Beijing.

But a change to the regulations means countries are now only able to enter one rider in individual events, and Great Britain have no intention of selecting Hoy on past form alone.

Indeed, the 35-year-old will have to fight tooth and nail for each place, especially for the coveted sprint spot, with Beijing silver medalist Jason Kenny breathing down his neck more heavily than ever.

The man 12 years Hoy's junior was last month crowned world champion following Gregory Bauge's ban for missing a drugs test and Sutton has admitted the battle between the two team-mates is too close to call.

Speaking ahead of this week's London World Cup, which could see Hoy and Kenny go head to head at the Olympic Velodrome for the first time, Sutton said: "You've got a very speedy, young athlete, super-fast athlete, current world champion.

"Then you've got the great Sir Chris Hoy, triple-Olympic champion, power to burn.

"You've got power versus speed, so how do you pick?"

This week's World Cup clash and April's World Championships in Melbourne could prove decisive in the selection process.

Sutton said: "We've not really sat down and thought exactly what would happen if they both made the final of the Worlds, they went one-all and someone just went to sleep in the last one - who would still be the best? You don't know.

"But it's a beautiful situation to be in.

"Given what I've seen from Sir Chris of late, he's coming back to his best.

"Then again, Jason's on fire, so it's going to be a tough decision and there is no dead-set formula.

"There is a discretionary line in there as far as selection's concerned.

"But there are certain parameters, and one of them would be who performs best in the Worlds has probably got the first foot in the door."

Sutton claimed he and performance director Dave Brailsford would take personality out of the equation when they made their final decision.

"You don't look at the person, you look at the numbers," he said.

"What we do is get a graph and all there is, say for team pursuit, are four different colours. That's all you've got.

"You're just seeing the speeds, the powers, all the traces that you need to see."

PA

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