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Page last updated at 10:52 GMT, Wednesday, 21 May 2008 11:52 UK

Brailsford banks on racing start

By Nigel Bell

Dave Brailsford
Brailsford says preparation is the key to success (Getty Images)
If there is one sport Britain will be expected to do well in at the Beijing Olympics, it is cycling.

In March 2008, Team GB won nine gold medals at the World Championships in Manchester.

That was a success for the athletes and Team GB's performance director David Brailsford, the man who has ensured the 5m annual lottery budget is spent wisely.

Most days, the 44-year-old makes the four-hour round trip to the Manchester velodrome from his home in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, to ensure everything is ready for Beijing.

"I get two hours thinking about what we need to do for the rest of the day and two hours on the way home to reflect.

"It gives me time to think before the day," Brailsford said.

Brailsford is Team GB's performance director

Once in Manchester, Brailsford faces a series of meetings with athletes, mechanics and sports scientists to ensure everything is on track for the summer.

And he said it is the attention to detail that has made Team GB so good.

Brailsford's fascination with cycling started as a teenager. At the age of 18 he used to race for a team in France but never made the grade to compete in the Tour de France.

After obtaining a sports science degree he became involved with the British cycling team.

In 1998 lottery funding allowed the sport to become professional and he was approached to join Team GB on a full-time basis.

By 2002 he had become performance director and Brailsford said the influence of lottery funding cannot be underestimated.

Prior to 2000, Britain had won one gold medal in 76 years - Chris Boardman in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

If they feel fully prepared and ready to go then they'll be confident

Dave Brailsford

Since that date the team has gathered 79 world championship medals.

That total will be expected to rise in Beijing, although Brailsford said he does not feel under any extra pressure.

"The pressure I feel is to make sure we get there and the night before the race a rider can turn around and, when asked if they'd left any stone unturned, they can say no," he said.

"And if they feel fully prepared and ready to go then they'll be confident and it's my job to make sure that's exactly how they feel."

That attention to detail and hands on approach will hopefully turn Olympic dreams into a golden reality in Beijing.


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