The French cycling team have cast a jealous eye towards their British counterparts’ “magic wheels” after Team GB won its fifth track cycling gold medal in seven events at the London 2012 Olympic Games earlier today.
Jason Kenny – dubbed King Kenny – beat world champion Grégory Baugé in the men’s sprint yesterday.
But after the race, Isabelle Gautheron the French team director said she was perplexed by Britain’s dominance and said the team hides the wheels used on the track immediately after races.
“We are asking a lot of questions: how have they gained so many tenths of seconds?” she said.
She added: “Have they found a new training process based on certain energy pathways? I am not talking about any illicit product, because anti-doping tests are so strong.
“We are looking a lot at the kit they use. They hide their wheels a lot. The ones for the bikes they race on are put in wheel covers at the finish.”
Britain’s cycling performance director Dave Brailsford defended his team, saying: “It’s interesting that people are starting to ask questions.
“It’s no different from when we raced the last three-and-a-half weeks at the Tour de France.
“It’s the same method, the same philosophy and essentially fantastic coaching which is the only secret weapon we possess.
“As far as the Olympic Games go, only two weeks are important – one week in Beijing, one week here. And we’ve peaked for both.”
The French team’s comments came after Britain won a huge medal haul, having initially fallen behind France. That prompted French President François Hollande to taunt the British, saying they rolled out the red carpet for their neighbours.
Now, however, Team GB’s cyclists alone have enough medals to place them joint eighth on the medal table, with five on the track and one on the road.
Kenny was picked ahead of Beijing hero Sir Chris Hoy for the sprint event and he did not disappoint, despite admitting the decision put him under pressure.
He said: “It’s amazing. I hadn’t even thought about it until we got on to that last ride and it suddenly dawned on me.
“The battle I had just to get here with Chris [Hoy], I thought I’d better not mess this one up. Now I am really pleased to deliver for the team.”
Kenny himself won gold in Beijing as part of the team event but Hoy’s exploits made him one of the faces of British cycling.
And Kenny said: “It dawned on me that if Chris had been in my shoes there was no way he would have lost. It is a shame that we could not have two of us in here.
“He has that real killer instinct which is why he has so many medals.
“And my final ride was not that amazing if I am honest. I just let the crowd carry me home.”
After Kenny pulled away from Baugé to take gold, Hoy – who is hopeful of adding to Team GB’s track cycling medals, along with colleagues Victoria Pendleton and Laura Trott – tweeted: Within moments of Kenny’s victory, Hoy tweeted: “That was PHENOMENAL by Jason Kenny. So happy and proud of him, well deserved mate.”Reuse content