Olympic champion track cyclist Callum Skinner has said that he is taking a break from the sport as he seeks to rediscover his motivation – but hopes to return for the Tokyo Olympics.
Two years ago in Rio, the Scot, who turned 26 this week, helped Team GB win team sprint gold and also took silver in the individual sprint behind fellow British rider Jason Kenny.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live’s Friday Sport Panel, he said: "I wasn't able to continue that upward trend, or momentum, that I found at the Olympic Games
"Whether it was that the training wasn't quite right or my head wasn't in the right place or my motivation wasn't quite what it once was, I needed to take some time to step back and re-evaluate and see where to go from there."
His decision to take a step back from the sport, albeit temporarily, is one that is backed by British Cycling.
"Tokyo is still very much on my mind," he said. "British Cycling are all about the Olympics so I'm very grateful to them for giving me space to re-evaluate things and see how I can push forward all the way to there."
One of the reasons for taking time off is that he has found it difficult to recalibrate his goals after achieving his ambition of an Olympic gold medal that he said had been his “sole focus” for seven years since becoming a professional at the age of 17.
"There's a bit of a transition in pressure as well – when I was trying to break into the team I was more or less unheard of, so expectations are kind of neutral," he explained, “whereas now people, quite rightly, expect a result every time I take to the track."
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.