Brailsford says British track stars hungry for success
Business as usual after post-Beijing hangover, and British cycling supremo also shares thoughts on Team Sky
British Cycling Performance Director Dave Brailsford claims that the British squad is eager for success in this weekend’s World Cup in Manchester as it finally comes down from its post-Beijing high.
Speaking to the website This Is London, Brailsford conceded that the Olympic effect meant that this had been a unique pre-season. "It's been really difficult to get everyone back on track,” he said, “and this season has been different to any other. A lot of these guys came back as big celebrities after Beijing and I think it's taken some of them a bit of time to get used to it.”
Brailsford went on to say that the appetite for success remained strong in the squad. “Everyone's got real hunger and desire - from the riders through to the mechanics," he said, adding that “everyone has had a break and they can't wait to get back into the thick of battle."
Brailsford refused to be drawn on setting medal targets for the World Cup event this weekend, or for the London Olympics in 2012 – perhaps understandably, given that the seven gold-medal haul at Beijing has set a high benchmark.
"There's no point making comparisons as Beijing has absolutely no bearing on London whatsoever,” said Brailsford. “It's not like what we did there is going to give us a headstart. We're starting from scratch and we just have to make our team the best prepared it possibly can be and then take the good and bad of what happens on track."
Of course, while Britain’s Olympic heroes have been enjoying the post-Olympic attention on them, Brailsford has been busy setting up professional road outfit Team Sky ahead of its debut next year.
Brailsford, who acts as Team Principal of the fledgling side, says that the squad has now been finalised, with "one or two riders still to be made public," and British cycling fans will no doubt be wondering whether one of those is Bradley Wiggins, who has been strongly linked with a move from Garmin-Slipstream in recent months.
He also believes that Team Sky will secure a wild-card entry to next season’s Tour de France, although he cautions that “it's dangerous to make predictions," adding that "it's a hell of a race but I think we can make our mark on it. We'll do our damnedest but it's a case of not under-performing rather than trying to do anything magical in our first year."
Team Sky will already have ridden its first Grand Tour by then through the Giro d’Italia which gets under way in Amsterdam in May. Earlier this week, directeur sportive Scott Sunderland was reported as saying that preliminary discussions regarding the identity of the riders who will take part in the race are likely to form part of the agenda at a team meeting next week.