Great Britain Cycling Team technical director Shane Sutton applauded the performance of his team after a confident opening round of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Guadalajara, citing the inspirational effect of Jason Kenny’s return to form.
Great Britain collected four medals over two-and-a-half days of competition at the Pan American Velodrome, with gold medals in the women’s team pursuit and men’s team sprint plus silver in the men’s sprint and team pursuit, Kenny instrumental in two of the team’s medals.
"It’s really pleasing to see where we're at now. It's nice but there's still a lot of work to be done,” said Sutton, whose squad will aim to repeat the performance of the previous season when they took the overall team prize over three rounds.
Mexico saw Katie Archibald, Elinor Barker, Laura Trott, Ciara Horne and Amy Roberts continue the women’s team pursuit squad’s astonishing run of victories and Sutton was quick to praise the contribution of the outfit’s newcomers.
“The two new girls in there, Ciara and Amy in that final,” said Sutton. “The depth we've got at our availability, it's all encouraging signs.”
The women’s pursuit performance was echoed by what Sutton described as a “big move forward” in the men’s event, which saw Steven Burke, Mark Christian, Jon Dibben and Andy Tennant take silver behind Australia.
But Sutton cited the gains made by the men’s team sprint squad, with an on-form Jason Kenny its core, as the weekend’s highlight.
"You've got Phil (Hindes) who's one of the top starters in the world and Kenny who's no doubt about it the best man two in the world on form, then Callum held it up well at man three,” said Sutton.
"You need your big players and when you see someone like Kenny step up you'll see the whole team step up. It reverberates through the whole squad,” Sutton continued.
With Becky James out of action with an ongoing injury problem, the women’s team sprint couldn’t match the performance of the men, the pairing of Jess Varnish and Danni Khan taking ninth.
“What Danni is delivering in training isn't being transferred into competition so obviously there are areas we need to work on with her to get it into competition,” admitted Sutton.
"It's a work in progress - it's going to take time and the thing is, we're not that far away.
“We're still at the races with Jess which is a good sign. But obviously to get girl two over the line is a bit of a bigger ask and unfortunately, one of the best girl twos (Becky James) in the world at the moment is out injured and we're paying that price.”
But Sutton was positive about the chance that Khan and Vicky Williamson were being afforded in triple 2013 world champion James’ absence.
"But that's also given the other three girls an opportunity and we'll keep giving them those opportunities as much as possible and who knows... if Becky doesn't come back one of these girls will seize their opportunity."
Great Britain Cycling Team’s track squad is next in action at round two of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup, which takes place in London’s Lee Valley VeloPark from 5-7 December.