British Cycling technical director Shane Sutton does not anticipate anyone emulating Jason Kenny or Laura Trott to ride from anonymity to Olympic gold at the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016.
Trott, 22, was the undoubted star of the Track World Cup which concluded in London on Sunday at the Olympic Velodrome – now known as the Lee Valley VeloPark – where she won two gold medals in 2012. At the equivalent point of the last Olympic cycle, towards London, Trott was barely heard of and only just making her British debut, while Kenny made a similarly swift impact in the lead-up to Beijing in 2008, where he won his first of three golds.
“I don’t think we have any left-fielders this time like Jason going into Beijing or Laura going into London,” Sutton said. “We are pretty set as a squad. It’s a young squad. Maybe one or two endurance guys (will come in), but no-one of the talent that Kenny and Laura possess.”
Trott is a mainstay of the women’s team pursuit squad which has not been beaten at Olympic, world, European or Track World Cup level in four years.
It is internal competition which is spurring the squad on towards Rio, with February’s Track World Championships in Paris the next target.
CONNECT WITH THE SCOTSMAN
• Subscribe to our daily newsletter (requires registration) and get the latest news, sport and business headlines delivered to your inbox every morning
Ciara Horne joined the 2014 World Championship-winning quartet of Trott, Joanna Rowsell, Elinor Barker and Katie Archibald for last Friday’s success, while Olympic champion Dani King is sitting out track racing this season and Amy Roberts and others are on the periphery of the team.
Sutton accepts a defeat will happen, but hopes the character in the squad is present to be able to cope. He added: “It’s going to go at some point. It will happen, it’s how you deal with that.
“We’ve got a very strong squad, there’s a lot of belief in the system. The other teams have all stepped up their game – when you look at the Canadians and the Aussies, they were very good. (But) we’ve got more to come.”
Olympic champion Rowsell, who was a reserve for the final, won her first world title in 2008 and is still to get back to her best.
“Once we get Jo back to her best, we’ll open up a gap again and continue to dominate,” Sutton added.
Sutton said: “Laura wants better than better; she is never happy with where she is at. She wants to win everything.
“Laura has loads more to come and I think she can totally dominate the next couple of Olympics.
Sutton says all the focus now is on 2016.
He said: “The London Olympics was absolutely fantastic but it’s history now. For these guys it’s all about Rio.
“Our winning mentality is coming back. We’re not just relying on the women’s team pursuit winning. Laura can win the omnium, the Madison…
“We’re starting to get some results, which is nice. Most of (the riders) have achieved greatness – but I can see they want it.
“That’s the most important thing. Seeing that want back in their eyes, that whole drive and passion kick back in is a nice thing.”
Britain have something in reserve, too, with Sir Bradley Wiggins planning a track return and Mark Cavendish also considering the possibility.
Cavendish – and Team Sky’s Ben Swift – is looking at the omnium, while Wiggins is aiming for a final flourish in the team pursuit.
SCOTSMAN TABLET AND IPHONE APPS