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Page last updated at 09:10 GMT, Monday, 31 March 2008 10:10 UK

GB chiefs play down Olympic hopes

Britain's Chris Hoy
Olympic champion Chris Hoy won two gold medals in Manchester

Great Britain have played down their Olympic medal chances despite coming away with nine golds at last weekend's World Track Cycling Championships.

The team won eight of the 10 Olympic events in Manchester but are not taking anything for granted with five months to go until the start of the Games.

"We're competitive across the board but I think we'll get three or four Olympic golds," said team manager Shane Sutton.

Performance chief Dave Brailsford said: "The Olympics will be much harder."

There are only 10 Olympic track events, with the women's team pursuit and team sprint, which Britain won in Manchester, not part of the Beijing calendar.

"Looking at the medal table it looks like we've romped away with things," Brailsford told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"But some events could have gone either way and other nations are closing the gap.

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"We've all worked long and hard for the world championships and it's great to get the results we've seen.

"But we have seen the Danes and Aussies catch us up and the Dutch, who haven't performed as expected here, are still stepping up, along with the French."

Victoria Pendleton won two golds and a silver, but the 27-year-old said Britain's dominant performance may have raised expectations to excessive levels.

"Perhaps we have made it look too easy," said the 27-year-old. "It's not easy."

"I'm really pleased I won the sprint because that's the important one, the Olympic event."

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Review: World Track Cycling

The different programme of the events at the Olympics means that new star Rebecca Romero, who won a silver rowing medal at the Athens Olympics in 2004, will only target the 3000m individual pursuit at her second Olympic Games.

If she reaches the podium in Beijing, the 28-year-old will become the first British woman to earn medals in two different summer Olympic sports.

"In terms of Beijing, Rebecca's put herself in the mix for a medal and probably taken a slight psychological edge over her rivals," said Brailsford.

"She's put a stamp down and has given herself that edge.

"She may have only switched to track cycling two years ago but she's had a lifetime pedigree in elite sport and conditioning. Rowing is a tough, physical discipline so it's not as if she's a novice.

"She knows how to train, how to really hurt herself and put the hours in. She's fully committed and it's been more a case of transferring that pedigree to another elite sport."

see also
Hoy extends GB gold haul to nine
29 Mar 08 |  Cycling
GB rule the boards
26 Mar 08 |  Cycling
Britain claim triple track gold
27 Mar 08 |  Cycling
Wiggins claims gold for Team GB
26 Mar 08 |  Cycling
World Cycling highlights
26 Mar 08 |  Cycling
World Cycling - day one photos
26 Mar 08 |  Cycling
Cycling on the BBC
25 Mar 08 |  Cycling
British Cycling racing calendar
06 Nov 07 |  Cycling

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