Chris Hoy and Team GB expected to follow Bradley Wiggins' medal success

 

Track cyclists will be hoping for medal success today after Bradley Wiggins' gold win in the time trial.

In all likelihood, however prolific they are it will be a step back from Beijing four years ago where they blazed a trail with seven golds, three silvers and two bronzes.

Cycling governing body the UCI put paid to a repeat of that by introducing the one-rider-per-nation-per-event rule, meaning that Britain will not be quite so medal rich in the table after events at the Velodrome.

But the team showed at the World Championships in Melbourne earlier this year that they are once again top dog in the sport.

Partly because of that UCI ruling and Jason Kenny’s fine form at both the worlds and in training since, Sir Chris Hoy has been denied the chance of completing the fairytale of defending all three Olympic titles.

Hoy still has two golds on the line, starting with today’s team sprint although he, Kenny and the teenager Philip Hindes will have needed to have taken a huge step forward in the intervening four months since their disqualification at the worlds to dream of winning gold here.

Hoy has accepted the decision over the British individual sprint spot with good grace, going as far as saying that British Cycling “had made the right choice”. He even pointed out his tussle with Kenny could aid his team sprint and keirin hopes having “inspired me to work harder”.

“I’d love to be going for three events but now I can only do two,” he said.

The other thing to have inspired him in recent days was the Tour de France victory of former track team-mate Wiggins, something Hoy, caught up in the emotion of it all, perhaps overdramatised by calling “the greatest achievement of any British sportsman ever”.

The person hoping to set Hoy on the road to glory is 19-year-old Hindes, a German-born rider with a British father who switched to the Team GB in 2010. A potentially awkward plastic Brit debate has been neatly swatted away by Hindes himself, who cannot understand the fuss and points out “I feel British” without any irony as he delivers the words in a German accent.

He has aided his Britishness by learning the national anthem, has a penchant for Yorkshire puddings, and is being versed in British comedy by Hoy, who has recommended the Inbetweeners for a rider who shares the Scotsman’s dry sense of humour.

For Hoy to have medal aspirations, much rests on the dream number that Hindes is able to produce as man one in the team sprint. Four years ago, that figure was 17.1sec thanks to predecessor Jamie Staff. Hindes won’t quite get to that but he has been repeatedly setting personal bests in the countdown to the track cycling at the Games.

Also in action on day one are the women’s sprint pairing of Jess Varnish and Victoria Pendleton, who is bidding for three golds in her final ever track meeting.

On the evidence of her recent documentary, the event will once again be an emotional rollercoaster for Pendleton, who will also go in the individual sprint and keirin.

Of the emotional baggage that follows the Team GB pin-up, she said: “I still win so it’s fine, that’s how I am.”

As for her physical state, she added: “I’m definitely in better form entering a competition than in my entire life. I’m very happy with where I am right now. What will be will be on the day. Who knows how fast everyone will do? I’ve done the most I can do.

“Every session I’ve taken away something positive. When I go on the startline, I won’t think, ‘I wish I’d done things differently’.”

Helping her in that quest is Varnish. The pair struggled in Melbourne but mostly because Varnish had been ill in the build-up so a truer sign of their capabilities was the test event in London preceding it in which they broke the world record.

Varnish has been registering personal bests in training and revelled in watching the Pendleton documentary alongside her team-mate, both of them bawling their eyes out over what Varnish called “the soppy stuff with Scott [Pendleton’s fiance]”.

For her part, Varnish insists she does not feel undue pressure to deliver for one of Pendleton’s last stabs at Olympic glory. “Whatever happens, we both know we’ve pushed ourselves to the limit,” insisted Varnish.

The other British contingent in action today are the men’s team pursuit, who are the current world champions.

Geraint Thomas, part of the line-up that won gold in the event four years ago, predicted that: “The world record will go.”

He and Ed Clancy, the relative novices in Beijing, are now the experienced heads in a line-up that will also see Steven Burke, Pete Kennaugh and Andy Tennant fight for the four available slots. Clancy said there was a “sense of deja vu” in the build-up.

The hope is that deja vu will be repeated in the medal table.

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Louis van Gaal would have been impressed with Darren Fletcher’s performance against LA Galaxy during Manchester United’s 7-0 victory
football
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Sport
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
sport
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
Sport
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
News
Isis fighters travel in a vehicle as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Life and Style
fashionLatex dresses hit the catwalk to raise awareness for HIV and Aids
Travel
travel
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
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.

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform