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Last Updated: Monday, 17 April 2006, 05:57 GMT 06:57 UK
Cyclists geared up for 2008
By Matt Majendie

British performance director Dave Brailsford (left) and sprint coach Shane Sutton
Brailsford (left) and Sutton have shaped Britain into world beaters
Britain finished the World Track Championships on Sunday with the highest number of medals of any nation - six.

Their haul of one gold, four silvers and a bronze was all the more remarkable just three weeks after the Commonwealth Games in a sport where riders tend to only peak once a season.

British cycling performance director Dave Brailsford and sprint coach Shane Sutton explain to BBC Sport why there are reasons to hope for even more at the Olympics in Beijing in 2008.

COMMONWEALTH GAMES

Brailsford: "There's a tinge of disappointment about the World Championships in the sense that we came so close to other golds aside from Chris Hoy's in the kilometre time trial.

"But anything we did in Bordeaux was effectively a bonus in the context of the Commonwealth Games. We had clearly defined the Games as our main goal of the season.

"We just had to plead with our riders to hold on to the form they had in Melbourne and drag it halfway across the world to France. What they achieved has really impressed me."

YOUTH

Brailsford: "We've blooded some youngsters this season, among them Matt Crampton and Geraint Thomas. Matt did really well here and was perhaps even more impressive in Melbourne where he inspired the team on day two.

Matt Crampton
Crampton has won plaudits since breaking into the squad
"We had made a decision a while back to put Geraint into the team pursuit and his riding was immaculate. After what he did as part of the silver-medal-winning team in Bordeaux he would walk into any other four-man line-up in global cycling right now."

Sutton: "Those aren't the only young guys coming through. Mark Cavendish starred with his gold-medal win in the scratch race in Melbourne, while Ed Clancy and Ian Stannard have started showing world-class form. Those three have an average age of just 20.

"Then there's our junior pursuit team, who would have won the world title had they not fallen. I'd expect at least two of these guys to be mixing it with the best in Beijing."

EXPERIENCE

Sutton: "Craig MacLean proved to the young guys what can be done. We've had this reputation as straight-line cyclists in the past - by that I mean the kilo and pursuit rides.

Craig MacLean
Sutton believes MacLean (above) will inspire British youngsters
"But Craig showed our young sprinters Ross Edgar and Crampton that doesn't have to be the case. He has the power, knowledge and tactical nous to win at the highest level and that'll only rub off on these guys."

Brailsford: "Another great example of the effect of experience is Jason Queally. Six months ago Matt Crampton was this timid guy and now he's a central figure of the team.

"Jason pretty much took him under his wing, showed him the ropes and, along with the support team, is in the process of turning him into a really special talent. Jason's just excellent at getting across to the youngsters what's needed... at every level."

MONEY

Brailsford: "After every event it's got to be said that we'd be a shadow of ourselves without the lottery money [British cycling has just been handed a 22% increase in funding looking towards the 2012 Olympics in London]. That's made all this possible from rider through to every member of our support staff."

Sutton: "The money's more Dave's area and obviously it's really important. But personally we're not in it for the money, we're in it for the medals, and we hope to show that in Beijing."

STRUCTURE

Sutton: "We have the best structure in the world at the moment - no one's got anything better at the minute - and all credit should go to Dave for that. He arrived in Bordeaux with so much enthusiasm which rubbed off monumentally well on all the riders.

"Around him, he's got all the right people in the right places from our head coach through to Steve Peters the psychologist or the guys picking out and shaping our young guys. As a result, I don't think anyone's got a better class of young rider coming through their ranks."

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

Brailsford: "I think I always leave every major championship - whether that be the Worlds, the Commonwealth Games, whatever - thinking what if and that's with no disrespect to our riders.

"They're a great bunch but winning track cycling is about the slightest of margins and so the bar is being repeatedly raised in the sport. Come 2008 in Beijing it'll be even harder to win gold so we'll always keep on striving to get better in every department. There's still a lot of areas where we can improve."



SEE ALSO
World silver for veteran MacLean
16 Apr 06 |  Cycling
Dominant Hoy seals world success
14 Apr 06 |  Cycling
GB miss out on team sprint gold
13 Apr 06 |  Cycling


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