Cycling world can only look on in awe
Monday 18 August 2008
The rest of the cycling world has watched Britain's domination here with a mixture of envy and admiration. It has been a particularly chilling experience for the Australians, who were the powerhouses in Athens four years ago, winning nine medals on the track (including five golds) and the women's road race. This year they have yet to win a medal.
"The Brits have set the standard as we did four years ago," Shayne Bannan, Australia's team leader, said here yesterday. "What they've done has just been incredible and great to watch. They've really made the other countries sit up and rethink the way that we do things. I've not been surprised at what they've done here. They put a structure in place in 1998 and the progression since then has been a real credit to them."
Bannan believes the British team is the best resourced in the world - their Lottery-fuelled annual budget of £2.6m is more than three times Australia's - but he stressed: "It's not just about the money. Money is a part of it, but it's more about the fantastic environment the British have set up for their athletes.
"I honestly believe that that even if their budget was half that amount, they would still get results because of the people working within their system and the way they're going about it. Their utilisation of resources is first-class. They have state-of-the-art people working for them and a great management system in place.
"I know they have a very good budget, but the way that they manage that money is a big credit to them. They have a base in Manchester that they use as a centre point and the access they have to riders is something that we struggle to have."
Bannan said that success did tend to go in cycles but he did not expect to see any decline in Britain's domination in the near future. "Britain will be in a very good part of that cycle in four years' time and London is obviously a big objective for them," he said.
"We've got plans that we've put in place for London in 2012, but it's going to be a really hard task to catch them up in four years, let's not kid ourselves. Their riders are reasonably young and they have some good depth."
Robin van Persie to Fenerbahce: Manchester United striker 'agrees to personal terms' with Turkish side
Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs posts bizarre video of his Miami holiday being invaded by an iguana
Women's World Cup 2015: England take third place as they beat Germay in extra time with penalty by Fara Williams
Arsenal transfer news: Gunners will only consider 'astronomical offer' from Atletico Madrid for Santi Cazorla
Why is it that there’s no women’s team at Manchester United? - Michael Calvin
- 1 Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
- 2 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 3 Optical illusion turns blue demon into brunette
- 4 Right to die: Belgian doctors rule depressed 24-year-old woman has right to end her life
- 5 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts