ANALYSIS: HOW MANY MEDALS WILL BRITAIN WIN?
If, as Dave Brailsford believes, there really is more to come from Britain’s track cyclists, a record haul of Olympic medals is on the cards in Beijing in the summer.
Anyone left cool by the heroics on the LaoShan track at the weekend’s World Cup simply doesn’t have a soul – it was a fantastic performance at a time when most of the riders were working from a base of fairly basic training. There are still eight months in which to hone and perfect.
Three golds, four silvers and a bronze. If they were to repeat that at the Olympics, the cyclists are certain to be Britain’s most prolific medal-winners – and that’s not even taking into account Shanaze Reade on the BMX track or Nicole Cooke and Emma Pooley on the road.
It’s cause to take a moment to think back to the dark days when a glance at Great Britain’s Olympic team offered very little in the way of medal potential.
There is genuine hope – no, expectation – surrounding the track cyclists now. And, when you bear in mind the track and field athletes stole the show with just three golds and a bronze in Athens four years ago, it shows that glory and recognition is on the cards for the cyclists if they get it right in China.
Four years ago, the cyclists emerged with two golds, a silver and a bronze – eclipsed only by athletics and sailing in the medal stakes. This time could be even better...
But what do the recent World Cup results mean for 2008 – and what can British fans really hope for from the Beijing Games?
PICTURE: Medals. This is a World Championship one. Olympic ones look different and are only on offer every four years
|BEIJING WORLD CUP MEDAL HAUL|
Team pursuit (Ed Clancy, Steve Cummings, Paul Manning, Geraint Thomas)
Chris Hoy – Keirin
Victoria Pendleton – sprint
Chris Newton – points race
Bradley Wiggins & Mark Cavendish – Madison
|WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR 2008?|
5/5 Barring disasters a certain medal – and a great chance of gold
4/5 Playing for silver with an outside hope of gold
3/5 A medal is there for the taking, but what colour?
2/5 Outsiders for bronze, but who knows?
1/5 Need a very special ride to have a chance
Men’s team pursuit
5/5 We’re the team to beat and the Aussies are playing catch-up
Men’s individual pursuit
5/5 Wiggins is as hot a favourite as you can get
Men’s points race
2/5 It's an ultra-competitive event, it’ll need a special ride
3/5 A great chance but there are no guarantees
5/5 Hoy will medal – and it’ll be gold if his incredible winning streak goes on
4/5 Should be in the running for a medal but gold may be a big ask if Theo Bos is on form
Men’s team sprint
3/5 If the Dutch and French are on form it'll be tough to win but realistically bronze is well within reach
5/5 Pendleton will be a big favourite – a lot depends on the draw
Women’s individual pursuit
3/5 Some very tough competition but a medal is a definite possibility
Women’s points race
1/5 Difficult to see it happening at the moment
See tomorrow’s Cycling Weekly for full reaction following the Beijing World Cup
Night 3: Beijing World Cup
Night 2: Beijing World Cup
Night 1: Beijing World Cup
Full Beijing World Cup schedule and preview
CW's Dummies' Guide to track cycling