Cycling: Chris Hoy works harder than ever to defend three golds

SIR Chris Hoy is desperate to defend his three Olympic gold medals at London 2012 but admits individual sprint uncertainty is driving him to new heights as he prepares for next month’s Olympic Games.

Due to a change in UCI rules after the Beijing Olympics in 2008 only one representative from each country can contest the sprint and, with huge pressure coming from team-mate Jason Kenny, Hoy is currently no clearer on his London 2012 schedule. Edinburgh’s Hoy claimed one of his three Beijing golds in the 200m dash four years ago, however, Team GB rival Kenny claimed the World Championship title last year in the same event, meaning the decision is far from clear-cut for British selectors.

Team GB will number 27 in total across the four Olympic cycling disciplines in London, with British cyclists hoping to match the 14 medals and eight golds won in Beijing.

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Hoy, whose place looks assured in the team sprint and keirin, has been on record stating his intention to go for an unprecedented treble once more in London. However, the selectors now seem intent to make an 11th hour decision, meaning an anxious wait for Hoy and Kenny.

“It looks like the selectors are going to leave the decision quite late,” said Hoy.

“It is not about your own ambitions though at this stage, the coaches will put in the best placed person to go out there and try and win the gold medal.

“And so we are both just training as hard as we can and trying to make sure it is us that get the one spot – it’s driving us currently.

“And in many ways it is a good thing because we are just pushing each other so hard in training – it has to be a good thing both individually and for the team sprint.

“I’ll still have two events to do whatever the decision, which is two more than a lot of people.

“Obviously I’d love to defend all three titles, but there’s no knock-on effect if I’m not picked for the individual sprint as I’ll have the team sprint and then onto the Keirin.

“In some ways it’s tough, and in some ways it’s great as we’re all pushing each other on right onto the line. It’s helping the team sprint because you know that if you don’t get picked, it means your team-mate is going quicker and the team sprint is going pretty well.” Despite that hard graft in training, Hoy made a space in the diary for his own Olympic first in Manchester last weekend.

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For a man with three Games under his belt and four gold medals to his name, Olympic firsts are few and far between for the Scot.

However, he admitted having the opportunity to carry the torch – and pass the flame to his nominee Geoff Cooke, a former GB cycling coach – was yet another memorable Olympic experience.

“It was great to be able to carry the torch and it was great for it to be in Manchester which is like a second home to me,” he said.

“The Olympic torch relay is not so much about me and gold medallists carrying the flame it is about people from local communities being recognised and it is fantastic to have been involved.

“It was an honour to be able to nominate Geoff and to pass the torch to a person who has had such an influence on people’s lives.”

n As the only National Presenting Partner of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, Bank of Scotland is bringing the excitement of the Games and Olympic Flame closer to you. Find out what we’re doing in your community and who is carrying the Flame at