Great Britain’s Matt Crampton believes there is 'more to come' from him on the journey towards the 2014 world championships in Cali, Colombia next February.
Of two athletes who represented Great Britain in the men’s sprint at November’s track world cup in Manchester (the other being Olympic champion Jason Kenny), Crampton exceeded expectations in qualifying in 10th place earning him a ride in the first round of the competition in the process.
“It just came together really well at Manchester,” Crampton commented.
“It was nice to get a good sprint result because in the last couple of years I’ve struggled there. Certainly in the qualifying it has been getting away from me and I think everyone has been stepping up and I’ve been going the other way.”
The standard in the men’s qualification times was impressive with only Crampton’s time being over the 10 second mark in the final top ten.
He just missed out on what seems to be an ever-growing quest for the Manchester rider to break that elusive 10 second barrier and sees Mexico as the perfect stage on which to execute it.
“I was so close to sub 10. I really wanted to go nine something - that’s the next goal now and hopefully I get that in Mexico,” said the 27-year-old rider.
The 200m time trial is just the start of the individual sprint with generous helpings of pure instinct and guile needed on top of pure speed if you are ever to be in with a chance of progressing successfully through the rounds.
“The 200 is something we replicate all the time in training, so you can nail that process down but once you are man on man and you just have to beat him, it becomes the big challenge then,” Crampton said.
“You have got to get things right and the difference in a fraction of a second is win or lose.”
Crampton won his first round ride against Peter Lewis of Australian trade team Jayco with relative ease and shortly afterwards he disposed of Adam Ptacnik of the Czech Republic, beating him 2-0 to advance to the semi-finals.
Crampton found himself up against a relative newcomer to the scene in the form of Njisane Phillip of Trinidad. Phillip (who is coached by former Great Britain athlete and Olympic gold medallist on the track, Jamie Staff) had qualified in third place and had shown good form on his journey to the semi-finals.
“I think the ride with Njisane Phillip when he was up high and I was high and I was coming at him really well, I thought I should have gone on the inside but I thought it and you have to just be on instinct,” revealed Crampton.
Crampton lost to the Trinidadian 2-0 and found himself up against the Australian Shane Perkins in the fight for bronze. Crampton lost out on a podium spot to Perkins but again offered a useful self- appraisal of where he believes things went awry.
“With Shane I was thinking, go on the inside, go on the inside don’t leave that door but I was thinking it too much and by the time I was there it was too late.”
In addition to the individual sprint at Manchester, Crampton found himself with an opportunity to show selectors his mettle in the team sprint as a late substitution with Kian Emadi ahead of the finals saw him ride in the hotly contested man three spot for the first time in years.
“It’s still a work in progress and it was great to have the opportunity in Manchester to get back in there because I haven’t ridden in three for a good few years, Crampton said.
“You need that start line practice, the countdown, the beeps and the timing of that as well as responding to the guys in front.
“It was nice to be in there, we tried a few things with the gear strategy, we came down the gear to make the start a little bit easier but I think my start is a bit of strength at the minute and is going well.”
As riders prepare for Mexico, it is clear that with the ever approaching world championships in Cali less than three months away, the emphasis on being in top form for what is seen as track cycling’s annual focal point is in the forefront of everyone’s mind.
“Although the world cup rounds are really important for qualifying, we are still very much training through them a little bit,” Crampton said.
“We are still a long way from the worlds and there are still a lot of things to keep improving on.
“There are a few technical bits I need to work on and yeah, I think there is more to come.”