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How do Britain stop Gregory Bauge?

World Track Championships
Venue: Apeldoorn, Netherlands Dates: 23-27 March
Coverage: Watch and listen live across the BBC - What to watch and where to watch it

Highlights - Bauge beats Kenny to sprint gold

Highlights - Bauge beats Kenny to sprint gold

British sprint duo Sir Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny were beaten by Gregory Bauge on Friday at track cycling's World Championships in the Netherlands.

French star Bauge, 26, has now won three world sprint titles in a row, leaving Hoy and Kenny - gold and silver medallists respectively in the event at the Beijing Games in 2008 - trailing in his wake.

BBC Sport asked analysts Craig MacLean, a former team sprint world champion, and Olympic pursuit champion turned GB equipment specialist Chris Boardman, what the British duo can do to overhaul Bauge before the London Olympics.

WHO IS GREGORY BAUGE?

Craig MacLean: "He's been on the scene for quite a long time: his first World Championships was in 2005. He has had some horrendous crashes and his fair share of bad luck since then, but each time he has bounced back well.

"A case in point is that he had glandular fever over the summer, and that led many people to write him off for this season - but now he has a gold medal again and he has shown his true strength.

"Mentally, he seems to have developed more toughness. He was around at the Beijing Games but he didn't really feature aside from in the team sprint. We were used to seeing him get beaten in the early rounds of the sprint, where he would lose in the last eight or last 16 purely by carelessness, but we never see that side to him now. He doesn't make the same mistakes any more."

WHAT COULD JASON KENNY HAVE DONE TO WIN GOLD?

MacLean: "Jason Kenny is on great form - though possibly not his best ever - but Bauge is in exceptional form. That said, if the race were held on another day we may see a completely different result. Things are so close in this event.

"Jason needs to get back in the gym, get stronger and build a strong foundation for the summer ahead. What's in his favour is that he can make improvements, whereas perhaps we have seen Gregory Bauge at his best."

Chris Boardman: "Bauge is not only in excellent form but in fantastic condition physically. But as Craig says, on the whole the British team have a lot of potential to move forward.

"Bauge made no mistakes or, if he did, he had so much gas that he could rectify them. Britain did the best they could tonight, but it doesn't mean the same result will come up in 12 months' time.

"Bauge did everything right - he has nowhere else to go. In the build-up to next year's World Championships in Melbourne, and the Olympic Games later that summer, there is room for Britain to improve."

WHAT OTHER FACTORS COULD HELP GB OVERCOME BAUGE?

MacLean: "If you look at the results from the time trial stage of this week's sprint event, there is very little to choose between the top riders.

"That said, looking at the times through the later races, a lot of them are slow - possibly because of the track and the conditions.

"Now those conditions are going to have a psychological effect on the riders. If they know the track is slow then they may not ride quite as they normally would.

"Beyond that, there is only so much you can do. Looking at strategy, developing the tactics to beat somebody quicker than you is definitely doable, but it doesn't happen very often.

"Rarely now do people fall for the same tricks that they used to. Tactics play a part, but a small one. Developing power and speed remains the key."

Boardman: "Cycling is a very traditional sport and people tend to forget the technological side, and what you can do to improve there.

"In the run-up to Beijing the British team asked themselves what they could do to just take 1% off a number of different things, pull them all together and turn that into a meaningful gain. That happened in Beijing, and it could happen again for London."

WHAT ABOUT CHRIS HOY?

Boardman: "Chris has been doing this for so long that he may find it very hard to get himself up for anything other than the very biggest competitions, although results like this give his next 12 months an added impetus.

Britain's Jason Kenny pips Sir Chris Hoy

Kenny edges Sir Chris Hoy out in semi-final

"I can only speculate about how he feels but, were I in his shoes and thinking back to the long career I had, once I stood on the top step at the Olympics it could be hard to get up for other major events.

"We will not see the same Chris Hoy next year. He will go into another gear when he begins building up to the Olympic Games.

"In other words, it is impossible to say that Kenny has already laid claim to that one sprint place available to Britain at the 2012 Olympics. It will be very close between the two - but I will say that it is now between the two of them."

MacLean: "Chris isn't going to give up without a fight at all. These guys train together every day. Imagine that - a world championships every day. It's psychologically very draining to do that on a daily basis.

"Maybe that is why Chris struggles to get up for the big events, because he is in that same zone day in, day out. Jason is the youngster, he still has a lot to prove, whereas Chris has nothing to prove - he has shown his dominance time and time again.

"He keeps coming back. Come London he will be firing on all cylinders and he will want to represent Britain in three events again."

WHAT ABOUT KENNY'S AMBITIONS NOW?

Boardman: "It's a question for him to answer, but he's been second before at the Olympic Games and I reckon he must be getting a bit tired of that position. I don't think he could have made a difference in this race, it was as much as he could have hoped for, but that doesn't mean he's going to like it."

MacLean: "He's a winner and anybody who is happy winning silver - well, silver is all you are going to get. But you are not going to have to wait too many years before you see Jason Kenny become the world sprint champion."

Boardman: "Correct. You can see the progress, if you look at all the charts he is moving forward. Plus he is in a fantastic position psychologically: he has been second-best up till now. Chris is being shot at by everybody all the time - he is a scalp to be had. There are people out there happy to finish fourth as long as he finishes fifth.

"That's negative motivation, which means you either do what people expect of you or else you fail. It is very hard to operate under those conditions for a long time.

"The important thing for Britain here is that everybody has been in the mix, just about every medal for which a Briton has been entered has produced a contender. The results may not be quite what people wanted; they are disappointing, but by no means a disaster."

MacLean: "If Britain had been in this position prior to the Beijing Games, we would have been delighted. Silver and bronze in the individual sprint is certainly not a disaster.

"When Chris Hoy won Olympic gold in 2008, nobody really expected it - least of all Chris, who was relatively new to sprinting at the time. He, and the team, are still in a good position now."

Craig MacLean and Chris Boardman were speaking to BBC Sport's Ollie Williams.



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see also
Kenny wins silver in sprint final
25 Mar 11 |  Cycling
GB open with double world bronze
23 Mar 11 |  Cycling
GB finds a rider for the future
23 Mar 11 |  Cycling


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