Monday, 28 March 2011

2012 Olympics:Britain upbeat for 2012 despite disappointing worlds

 APELDOORN, Netherlands (Reuters) - Britain's track cyclists will come good at the 2012 Olympics despite a disappointing world championship medal haul, their team director said.

Britain claimed just one gold, three silvers and five bronzes to finish fourth in the medal table in Apeldoorn, well behind Australia who led the way with eight golds.

Prior to their domination at Beijing in 2008, an all-conquering British squad scooped seven golds, two silvers and two bronze medals at the 2007 world championships in Mallorca, Spain.

"The key question for 2012 is, are we in medal contention?," team director Dave Brailsford told Reuters.

"There's always room for improvement and I'd name (triple World sprint Champion Gregory) Bauge as a stand-out performer.

"But we're doing well in the team pursuit, and in the men and women's team sprint, too, we're closing the gaps."

"So there's reason for optimism in all of them, especially if you bear in mind some of our key riders aren't here or have been ill."


Brailsford pointed out that by Saturday evening, Britain had taken medals in seven Olympic events out of a possible eight, only falling short in the men's Omnium. He it was illogical to compare the results with Mallorca in 2007.

"It'd be like if you looked at where Manchester United were in the 2007 league and you say 'oo, they're not 13 points clear this time round'," he said.

"It's different people, different countries, different times. That was then, this is now."

"That kind of comparison is only logical if you think 'can we get another eight gold medals in London 2012 and the chances of that are pretty slim'."

Jamie Staff, a former Olympic gold medallist who is now working with the U.S. sprint program, said Britain had plenty of talent in reserve.

"Next year it'll be interesting to see at what point they bring out (Beijing gold medallists) Bradley (Wiggins) and Geraint (Thomas)," he said.

"At this point they're still looking pretty strong, in the sprint events Jason (Kenny) and Chris (Hoy) have proved here they are still at the top.

"And then you've got new young talent like Jess Varnish coming up really fast," he added.

"Overall, they are in the game. The talent is there and the potential for medals is still very much there."
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