Sutton expects success in Paris

Published: Sunday 15th February 2015 by The News Editor

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British Cycling chief Shane Sutton expects his track stars to banish their post-Olympic blues in Paris this week.

Britain’s elite riders have endured a slump in fortunes since scaling extraordinary heights at the London 2012 Games, where they won seven gold medals from 10 events.

Last year’s UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Cali, Colombia, proved a particular disappointment with the men’s team returning home without a single medal.

Since then there have been a raft of coaching changes at the governing body, with the most notable being Sutton’s promotion to performance director following Sir Dave Brailsford’s departure.

With the Rio 2016 Olympics now coming into view, Sutton feels it is time his riders got back to business as the next edition of the World Championships begins in France on Wednesday.

The Australian said: “We didn’t perform well last year and everyone keeps asking me why. I don’t think anyone has been able to find the answer.

“But I don’t think any of us can imagine achieving what we did in London, and the tall-building syndrome that you come away from that with, and how massive the fall must have been afterwards. It is like playing at Wembley and then going to play at Wrexham.

“These guys got such a buzz playing at the Olympics, in a home Games. That will never happen again in their lifetime and I don’t think they dealt with the aftermath.

“As a squad I think we’re in decent shape now. There have been a few guys with injury and illness but that would be making excuses.

“We are going to the Worlds to perform. It is not one for experience – it is about going there to perform. We are going there to be the best we can be, and hopefully that will bring us a few results.”

Sutton has not set any specific targets for Paris but wants to see positive signs of improvement as the build-up to Rio steps up.

He said: “I have never put a metric on it. I would like to think we will be in the mix at this Worlds and then see us progress big time at the next Worlds, because that is the one where you tend to be judged and you pretty much know the goalposts don’t move much after that one, pre-Olympics. All I am looking for is attitude being improved and progression in performance.”

One of the riders Sutton anticipates improvement from is sprinter Jason Kenny, who won two golds in London to add to another he scooped in Beijing four years earlier.

Kenny has also seen a dip in form, and suffered some criticism for it, but Sutton expects the 26-year-old to roar back into life.

He said: “At this Worlds I am really looking forward to seeing the return of Jason Kenny. I think he took a fair bit of stick last year but if you break down his performances at the Worlds, I thought he performed quite well. He got knocked off in the Keirin when the bronze was in the bag.

“People forget that and people forget how many Olympic medals this guy has got. He has been world sprint champion and all the rest of it.

“I don’t think it is about success – I think it will be basically putting a couple of fingers up to some people. That is Jason all over. He wants to go out there and say Jason Kenny has never really left and he will be back for Rio. He will be ready.”

Published: Sunday 15th February 2015 by The News Editor

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