We battled to a bronze medal in the Women’s Team Pursuit, and unfortunately things didn’t work out in the Men’s and Women’s Omniums. Zach and Tara were so disappointed with how things turned out, but they showed their incredible strength of character by fighting right until the end, as did all of our riders.
In Beijing in 2008, we achieved a 12th place, a 9th place, and a 7th place, with three riders and one coach, and six weeks of training.
In London in 2012, we earned a medal (3rd), a 4th place, a 6th place, an 8th place, a 12th place, and a 13th place, with seven riders and a good support team. Most of this team has been in place for two years, with riders and staff based at the velodrome in LA, and this is the start of the system we envision.
We aim to continue our development in the endurance events and to create a better system for the sprint events at the Rio 2016 and the 2020 Games, so that we can compete for medals in all of the possible events.
Back a few Olympics ago, most countries “played” at around the same level. Successful riders did it themselves, or in pockets of great work that was happening. Now the Great Britain team is playing on an entirely different level, and even the strongest cycling nations with quality training venues and full-time support are struggling to find ways to beat them.
What they do is nothing magical – they simply get as many of the details right as possible – and they are beatable, given a solid system that includes a seamless development pathway and consistent funding.