So it seems that Shane Sutton is reasonably pleased with GB’s showing at the season’s first World Cup. Cyclostats thinks that a pretty fair assessment. It’s interesting that he notes Jason Kenny’s return to form. The Olympic champ’s silver in the sprint, fourth in the kierin and a quick second lap in the Team Sprint, was certainly solid enough but he has some way to go yet. At 9.853, Kenny was three tenths behind winner Matt Glaetzer in qualifying and allowing for about 0.25 in altitude effect, he’s probably only at about 10.1 on a “normal” track, which is a far cry from his 9.713 Olympic best.
The good news of course, is that even below his absolute best, Kenny is competitive, and if he rediscovers his full spark it will be lights out in Rio for Glaetzer, Pervis and anyone else who gets in his way.
The Team Sprint was a bright spot for the men, though it should be noted that New Zealand were quite a bit quicker than GB in the bronze medal final and along with Germany will be a serious threat in 2016. The British team looks set at Man 1 and 2 with Hindes and Kenny, with Callum Skinner – who went well in Mexico – competing with Kian Emadi for the third spot. Lewis Oliva and Matt Crampton are looking like outsiders right now.
In the Team Pursuit there was also good news with a silver medal with a pretty inexperienced team. Andy Tennant looks like he’s finally fulfilling his potential and the likes of Christian and Dibben held their own well. With Wiggo returning, you’d expect the Rio team to read something like Clancy, Burke, Tennant and Wiggo, though young guns like Dibben. Harrison, Doull and Christian will keep pushing.
Dibben was a little disappointing in the omnium, significantly off his bests in the timed events and not really a factor in the bunch races. Dibben has great potential in the 6-event contest, but he’ll need to do more to oust Clancy.
The ladies were their usual dominant selves in the team pursuit, but this was a truly exceptional performance given that Amy Roberts and Ciarra Horne are essentially both newcomers. With Archibald, King and Rowsell to come back into the mix, this event seems like GB’s best golden bet for Rio.
Archibald was a bit below par in the omnium but still posted a couple of pbs. The potential is still there for Katie, though she’ll have to go some to oust Laura Trott.
The women’s sprints are perhaps the biggest cause for concern. With Becky James’s date of return uncertain, GB are short a big hitter. Jess Varnish is a solid “Girl 1” as Sutton calls it, but hasn’t really broken through in the sprint. Vicky Williamson is clearly getting faster all the time but hasn’t translated that into the head to head sprint. Danielle Khan might be the bolter here. She’s also getting faster all the time too, despite a rough lap 2 in the Team Sprint here. It wouldn’t be a huge shock to see her in Rio, especially if James doesn’t make it back in time.