Brailsford playing the long game as he prepares for London World Cup
Dave Brailsford is determined his team peak when it matters ahead of UCI World Cup and World Championships
British Cycling chief Dave Brailsford is determined his team peak when it matters – even if that means settling for second best at this week’s UCI World Cup in London and next month’s World Championships.
The two events are critical stops on the journey to this summer’s Olympics, with key selection decisions likely to be finalised.
But Brailsford knows that success this year will only be judged in medals at London 2012.
“The dilemma is that you want to try and perform well in front of a home crowd but on the other hand actually that might not be the ultimate in terms of what we want for the Worlds,” he said.
“The Worlds are the be all and end all most years, you build towards them, but it’s kind of a stepping stone this year. It’s another opportunity to see where you are at with one eye on the Olympics. It’s not like a Worlds in any other season.
“The team is progressing but it’s not 100 percent and absolutely freshened up. There is more to come from them.”
Brailsford insists he is happy with the amount of time his squad has spent familiarising themselves with the 6,000 capacity Olympic velodrome, which is a total sell-out for all four days of the World Cup.
But he is cautioning against those whose expectations of success are sky high, following Team GB’s haul of 14 medals, eight of them gold, at the 2008 Olympics.
“What we did in Beijing was stratospheric and I think the passage of time will show that that was an unbelievable. It’s like Man City going to Man United and winning 5-1. Next time they go there and they win 2-0 people will say: ‘That’s rubbish’,” he added.
“You don’t expect them to go and win 5-1 every time. It’s a great thing to have done and we wouldn’t change it. But for people who are on the outside looking in, they just look it at and think it’s an automatic thing – that we just rock up and win.”
There are a number of interesting dilemmas for Brailsford, finalising his team pursuit squads, selecting his omnium riders and deliberating between the claims of world champion Jason Kenny and Olympic champion Chris Hoy for the one available men’s sprint slot.
However, it’s highly unlikely changes in the weeks and months ahead will amount to much more than tinkering.
“The opportunity for changing things and doing things differently, that window of opportunity is getting narrower and narrower,” he added.
“You have to be fine tuning the real deal now. In terms of laying down a marker, I think we are improving. Through the grey skies of Manchester in the autumn and the winter, a number of the GB squad have done a phenomenal amount of work and deserve a lot of credit.
“They have pushed their performances forward but they are not at the end of the journey yet. We are moving in the right direction but how they compare with how the rest of the world are doing, who knows. However, we are getting quicker.”