The Great Britain Cycling Team enjoyed great success at the European Championships in Apeldoorn, where they managed to win seven gold medals from the 10 Olympic events that they entered.
Kicking off the competition with three gold medals in the first day, along with Dani King coming ninth in the women’s points race, it’s safe to say a good start was made. Day two was more frustrating on the medals front; however Ed Clancy and Laura Trott made a great start to their omniums. Day three turned round the medal count, with Great Britain taking home the men’s and women’s omnium, the men’s keirin and the women’s keirin.
Dave Brailsford, Performance Director at British Cycling, reflected on the weekend: “If you told me we were going to win seven golds out of 10 events when we came here, then we’d take that for sure. But you’ve got to look at the performance, and we have got work do in some areas, yet we’re world class in other areas.
|Audio - Dave Brailsford on the European Championships
“We know that in certain areas we can do better, and we have got to improve if we want to have a winning catch. It’s what we have got to work on, and we have to go away from here and work very, very hard. A big block of hard work now before Christmas is the next step”
Victoria Pendleton was pleased with her achievements with Jess Varnish in the women’s team sprint. “It’s better than anyone was expecting, and we were faster than anyone went at the worlds this time last year, so it’s a really positive sign.”
Day two went less smoothly. Sir Chris Hoy pulled out of the individual sprint due to illness. Despite entering the competition with an excellent National Championships under his belt, he woke up on the day of the competition feeling unwell. He progressed through the qualifiers but after an examination with the doctors, it was decided to withdraw him. Shane Sutton, Performance Manager, explained: “He has got a chest infection, he’s had this lingering for about a week. It’s best to stop now, recuperate and get ready for Kazakhstan.”
Day two also saw an excellent start to the omniums, with Ed Clancy taking first in the flying lap, sixth in the elimination, and then tenth in the points race. Laura Trott took fifth in the flying lap, first in the elimination and seventh in the points race.
Day three then saw the two stars take the victories in their respective races – For Clancy, eighth was enough in the individual pursuit, with seventh in the scratch and winning the kilo enough to secure the overall victory. Trott secured the women’s overall victory with first in the individual pursuit, tenth in the scratch and first in the 500m TT.
Brailsford was pleased with the performances of the omnium riders. “Ed’s been World Champion before and he’s shown why, and he rode really well in the bunch races.
“He deserved the medal for sure. He’s gutsy, really does know how to turn himself inside out.
“As for Laura Trott, she just goes from strength to strength.” Brailsford also praised the women’s endurance riders as a whole: “They’re young, dynamic, they’re on it, they really are world class and they’re leading from the front. They’re giving all the old heads in that team a real vibe and buzz to it all. They love it and want to race, get out there and take it on. It’s so healthy to see, it’s contagious.”
Putting the European Championship into context of an Olympic season, Brailsford commented: “The key thing for us is that every athlete that goes to the Olympic Games performs to the best of their ability. We’ve got a lot of work to do to get there, but we’re ready to knuckle down on the back of this. The Euros give you that little bit of momentum, which is a good way to start.”