Published: 21 June 2012
Words: Simon Powers
Photography: Luke Webber
Beijing's triple Olympic Champion Sir Chris Hoy has dispelled any doubts surrounding the men’s Olympic Team Sprint lineup, alluding to the fact that he is happy with the progress the squad are making ahead of the first round of the event to be held at the Olympic Velodrome in London on August 2.
Speaking after being issued with his Team GB Olympic skinsuit, Hoy spoke of recent training, which indicated the team’s improving form.
“It certainly looks that way in training, Jason Kenny is going really well, too. So the team sprint, which a few months ago wasn’t looking as optimistic as it might or as it could be, is actually starting to turn around quite a lot now. But until you step up there on the line, under pressure and give it everything you don’t know what’s going to happen. I hope we can get a similar situation as we did in Beijing.”
With just over five weeks until the Opening Ceremony of the XXX Olympiad, Sir Chris Hoy, along with the rest of Great Britain Olympic Cycling team are hard at work ensuring that they do everything they can to gain any marginal advantage over the ever growing progress seen in other nations since the historic display in Beijing four years ago.
“Track training has been going well” Hoy enthused, “gym, everything actually has been good so I think we’re all working well, the whole team is working well and it’s just that final stage now where the stuff you’re doing is making a difference, you’re not close enough that it’s just about resting and freshening up, you are still training very hard just now so it’s that kind of interim period. The numbers are looking good, very good. I had a bit of a grim session yesterday which went really well, but was pretty painful. I set a new standard for that particular session so that was encouraging.”
“People think the fitter you get the easier it gets but I think it is the opposite, the more conditioning you get the harder you’re able to push yourself and therefore the more it hurts so it never gets any easier. Every session you do you tell yourself it’s the worst it’s ever been but that’s just the way it’s got to be”.
With the recent inclusion of the 19 year old Philip Hindes into the Team Sprint Squad, all eyes will be on him to see whether he can deliver two of the fastest men in the world with enough momentum in that all important man one position in the Team Sprint. Sir Chris reminisced of a time when such great names as Jason Queally or Jamie Staff were on hand to mentor him as a young sprinter.
“I think every Games you get a young rider who comes through who really excels in the final couple of months and we hope that’s the case with Phil.
“I think it’s just a role (that of mentor) that happens over the years. Gradually the riders that were your mentors or the guys you looked up to in your team retire. Guys like Jason Queally, Craig Maclean, Jamie Staff, they were guys who helped me. So it’s not like you decide, ‘right, I’m the eldest, I’m going to help out the younger guys’ but every now and again you get a little flashback to what it was like. For example at the world championships I had a little chat with Phil Hindes a few days before – he doesn’t’ really need it. He’s very calm, he gets on really well, he enjoys it all and he’s a great lad to have on the team. But there’s no harm in just reminding him of basics, you just do that anyway. It’s great to have a guy that’s fitted in so well with the team and is going so well, it’s all very exciting.”
MATCH SPRINT SELECTION
Instead of frustration and anxiety about who will represent Great Britain in the Match Sprint at the Games, the team is recalibrating their emotions into elevating performances in training. Sir Chris argued that the motivation to train to the best of your ability is only heightened by the suspense adding that the competition for the sole sprint place is only adding even more momentum to the Team Sprint performances.
“Obviously I’d love to be able to defend all three titles but there will be absolutely no knock on effect if I’m not the one that’s picked for the sprint, I’ll still be 100% focussed on the team sprint and then onto the Keirin. In some ways it’s tough but in other ways it’s great because we’re all pushing each other on, right to the line and it’s helping the team sprint because if you don’t get picked it means your team mate is going quicker and that means the team sprint is going pretty well.”