Great Britain’s most successful ever Olympian, Sir Chris Hoy, says people shouldn’t expect Team GB’s cyclists to repeat their dominance of track cycling at London and Beijing at the Rio Olympic Games next year. Meanwhile, UCI president Brian Cookson has expressed concern over progress being made in building the velodrome that will host the events.
Hoy, who has six gold medals – three of those won in China seven years ago and two in the home Olympics in 2012 – told Channel 5 News’s Matt Barbet that with Rio less than a year and a half away, it is unlikely those performances will be repeated.
Hoy said: “To expect the same levels of success as the last two Games is maybe not unrealistic but it’s not likely.
“The team aren’t in the position they’d like to be in right now.”
Last month, Great Britain came away from the UCI World Track Championships in Paris with just three medals, none of the gold – the first time since 2001 the country’s cyclists failed to secure a single rainbow jersey.
At the same stage in the Olympic cycle ahead of Beijing and London, with Team GB winning seven of the 10 track events at both Games, the country took 11 and nine World Championships medals.
“With a year to go to the Olympic Games you’d like to be already showing some form that’s hinting towards gold medal success,” Hoy continued.
However, he believes Team GB will win “at least two or three gold medals” in Rio next year.
“At certain events we’re going in the right direction – the men’s team pursuit has made massive improvements in the last year. In the women’s team pursuit we’re up against it now,” he added.
“They had been so dominant for so long – they’d be the ones that everybody else has been pitching at and now the Australians have really upped their game.
“But that’s sport, that’s what makes it exciting. If one team or one country dominated the whole time, it would get boring,” Hoy concluded.
Meanwhile UCI president Cookson said he believes the velodrome in Rio would be completed in time but expressed concerns over the progress being made.
Speaking yesterday at the Sport Industry Breakfast Club in London, he said: "It's more advanced than I had feared but there is a lot of work still to do, a lot of concrete to pour.
He said organisers are confident the facility “will be complete in November with a test event in March. When I was there I reminded them that there is no time to lose.
"It's a tight schedule and I have my concerns about it but I'm confident they will deliver," added Cookson.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.