British Cycling's 'boot camp' will bring golds in Oz and China29/03/2005 News
Britain’s lottery-funded track cycling team blitzed the opposition at the World Track Championships held at the weekend in Los Angeles. One of the gold medallists was just 18, a good advert for British Cycling’s elite academy of athletes.
British Cycling will now be focussing on the Commonwealth Games to be held in Australia in 2006 and the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.
These young men and women are found by British Cycling’s ‘talent team’ and then put through extensive coaching at the Manchester velodrome, staying with other elite academy members in a house in Manchester. Click through to The Guardian’s story on the rigours of this new, going-for-gold academy
Cycling never normally registers with the British mass media but even footy-obsessed tabloid editors couldn’t ignore four golds and a clutch of other medals at the World Championships. The Daily Mirror hailed Vicki Pendleton as “Queen Victoria”. The Guardian said the table-topping result was the start of a “golden age.” Sporting Life said “Britain’s track cyclists can claim to be the best in the world…”
On the final day of the competition Rob Hayles and Mark Cavendish won the men’s madison, a surprise to them and almost everybody else, but a fitting end to a fizzing performance from Team GB.
Performance manager Dave Brailsford will be hugely happy for the gold bagged by Victoria Pendleton – Britain’s first women’s track gold since Beryl Burton’s pursuit victory in 1966 – but will be also be gladdened by the gutsy performance of Cavendish. At 18, he was brought to the champs for experience not as a likely gold medal winner.
Team GB topped the medals table with four golds, one silver and a bronze. The Netherlands bagged 2-3-3 and Germany got 2-0-1. Australia managed fourth place, fielding a weakened team. In fact, Australia won the most medals at the championships but most were bronzes and it’s golds that carry the most weight.
Brailsford praised Team GB’s performance: “We’re a pretty drilled outfit, professional in what we do. We look at the detail and at times like this, it all comes together. But we are not getting complacent. Some of the results that went against us will spur us on to work harder, to keep us keen and keep us hungry.”
Team GB is run by British Cycling. In February, Sport England and UK Sport jointly awarded British Cycling’s World Class Performance Plan with £21m, running April 2005 to April 2009. The cash supports up to 44 athletes and was increased to reward the medal haul at the Athens Olympics.