Mail track

Sir Chris Hoy says UK runners are on course for more Olympic success

Sir Chris Hoy believes Britain’s track cyclists could be on course to dominate at other Olympics after a strong showing at the world championships last month.

Although Great Britain finished fifth in the final standings, only the Netherlands could match their total of 10 medals, and there were unexpected successes, including a first world title in the men’s team pursuit since 2018, a year after Britain lost the Olympic crown it has held ever since. 2008.

Great Britain has dominated Olympic track cycling since 2008 – when Hoy won three of its six titles – and finished top of the medal table in Tokyo last year despite the growing threat from rival nations. Hoy thinks the signs are there they could do it again in two years.


“I think they have reason to be very optimistic,” Hoy told the PA news agency. “Britain can be in the game in the majority of events with a good chance of winning a medal in all of them.

“As we know it comes down to tiny, tiny margins, so you can never predict the number of medals, but I think we’ll see an incredibly strong team capable of being up there.”

Among the most encouraging results in Paris was the bronze medal won by Lauren Bell, Sophie Capewell and Emma Finucane in the women’s team sprint – a major weak point ahead of Tokyo, where Britain failed even to to qualify.

Great Britain also clinched bronze in this event at last year’s world championships – but that was against a depleted field just weeks after the Olympics. This year’s result was a more meaningful marker.

“They improved by a second and a half over the three laps, which is a huge step forward,” Hoy said. “Sophie Capewell has really mixed it with the best in the world. They are on a very steep upward trajectory.

Hoy said Britain’s successes also came with Dame Laura Kenny and Katie Archibald after well-documented personal struggles.

Archibald’s partner, mountain biker Rab Wardell, died suddenly aged 37 in August. After helping Great Britain to silver in the women’s team pursuit at the world championships, Archibald won a hugely emotional scratch race at the track cycling Champions League meeting in Mallorca this weekend.

“It’s been a year that I don’t think any of us can imagine,” said Hoy of his fellow Scotsman, who had battled injury and illness before Wardell’s death.

“From the few messages she has posted on social media and after talking to her, it seems that cycling has been her one constant, some structure in her day. It’s so raw, so recent. She still had a terrible year before Rab tragically passed away.

“I think she showed us how incredibly strong she is. The whole cycling community was there to support her and that victory was such an emotional moment for so many watching.

Hoy was speaking from the desert of the United Arab Emirates, where he is taking part in the 2022 Laureus Challenge presented by Sierra Space, a four-day, 100-kilometer trek in often scorching heat through sand dunes and mountains.

“We literally drove in the middle of the desert somewhere and got dropped off,” Hoy said.

Hoy will look forward to being on more familiar territory next summer, when Scotland hosts the first-ever UCI Combined World Championships, a new format bringing together all major disciplines in the year before the Olympics.

“It’s amazing when I think back to the fight that we had to try and get an indoor velodrome in Scotland, racing at Meadowbank about 30 years ago, to think that now Scotland will host the biggest cycling event ever. in the world,” he said.

“It’s very exciting. We’re so excited for it.

:: Sir Chris Hoy was speaking ahead of the Laureus Challenge in association with Sierra Space.