LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s track cyclists are showing their rivals exactly how to win gold medals, gaining the experience to peak at just the right time.
Winners of seven out of ten possible titles in 2008, Team GB so far have three wins out of four and could well repeat that feat even if the opposition has improved in recent years.
Team leader Dave Brailsford told Reuters the secret lies in building up towards each Games.
“The one thing about British cycling is that over the years we’ve got the experience on how to peak at the right time and we know how to manage an Olympic cycle,” the Welshman said on Friday.
”A human being cannot stay at the same intensity for four years, it’s impossible.
“It’s difficult to peak on a given day at a given time once every four years. What really matters at the Games is that you’re at your absolute peak of performance.”
While Britain seem way above the competition after two days of action at the London Velodrome, they have not been that dominant at the world championships, most recently in Melbourne last April.
It is because you cannot have it all, according to Brailsford.
“You have to accept that you may not be at your best in certain competitions, that you might be beaten, and people get on your back and there’s questions,” he said, referring to Victoria Pendleton’s success in the keirin.
“She has managed that in an amazing way. Credit to her.”
For Pendleton but also the other riders in the team and staff, patience is key.
“You put the foundations in place and then you build and build and build and with about a year to go you’ve still got to feel that you haven’t actually put your foot to the floor,” said Brailsford, who also led Briton Bradley Wiggins to the Tour de France title with Team Sky last month.
”And then get to the world championships (in April), you’ve got to feel, the staff, the riders, that there’s that little bit more to give.
“And if you don’t have that, if you’re full gas already then you are in trouble in my opinion. Then you just have to keep that momentum all the way to the Games.”
On Saturday, Jason Kenny will start his individual sprint campaign and just like in the team event, he will not be the favorite after France’s Gregory Bauge thrashed the opposition at the world championships.
“Jason Kenny looks good,” said Brailsford with a smile.
Only one title is on offer on Saturday at the Velodrome and expect no less than gold for the British women’s team pursuit after they beat their own world record in Friday’s qualifying session.
“Our next objective is to win the women’s team pursuit,” said Brailsford.
Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Tom Pilcher