The Road to Rio: Where do GB’s men stand?

So now the Worlds are done and dusted, let’s have a look at how things are looking ahead of the Olympics in Rio eight months from here.

First, a note of warning that the World Champs one year prior to an Olympics are not necessarily a great guide to what will happen during the big show. Of the 10 World champions crowned in Apeldoorn in 2011, only two – Jason Kenny in the men’s sprint and the British women’s team pursuit squad repeated the feat in London. Having said that, it’s probably better to be at the front of the pack than the back as the clock ticks down quickly.

Men’s sprint

Gregory Bauge won the title in style, but that’s probably not the worst news for reigning champ Jason Kenny. Bauge is no young buck who is likely to improve between now and the Games, so Kenny can at least take aim at a fixed target. Had one of the young guns shone out, the task would seem a little tougher. As for Kenny, he had a poor championships by any standards, but his times against the clock in both the Team Sprint and Sprint were promising. Add in the usual boost that British riders get from their unique Olympic equipment and preparation and the gap between Kenny and gold does not seem insurmountable.

Prediction:

British representation: Kenny (+Skinner if 2 allowed)

Gold: Jason Kenny

Silver: Ed Dawkings

Bronze: Gregory Bauge

Men’s Kierin

Given Kenny’s weaker pedigree in this event, his first round defeat is a bigger concern. With no one else having stepped up for GB though, he remains the best bet and if his form comes together, he’ll be a threat at the very least.

British representation: Kenny (+Skinner if 2 allowed)

Prediction:

Gold: Ed Dawkins

Silver: Francois Pervis

Bronze: Jason Kenny

Team Sprint

We’ve written before about GB’s woes in this event, but there remains reason to believe that they’ll pull it together. Based on the anticipated GB Olympic peak, both Phil Hindes and Jason Skinner might be around 0.2 seconds faster come Rio. That would put GB at around 29.6 after two laps. Callum Skinner needs to pull it together on Man 3, but his Kilo and sprint times still indicate he ought to be close to 13.3 or 13.4. Deduct another 0.2 of a second from that for the Olympics, and GB could home in around 42.7. Will that be enough? France triumphed in Paris with a pair of 43s thanks to New Zealand’s relegation in the final. The Kiwis were at about 42.8, so indications are that at full tilt, GB might have just enough. Of course, New Zealand are a young team and might improve, and France were handicapped by unusually slow man 1 times from Bauge. He can go at least 0.3 faster which would put the French right in the mix. Add in the potential for France to add in Francois Pervis, and they could still be a major threat.

British Team: Hindes, Kenny, Skinner

Prediction:

British representation: Bronze

Gold: New Zealand

Silver: France

Bronze: GB

Team Pursuit

GB stepped up big time in Paris and came within inches of taking the title. New Zealand were top dog this time although the Australians might have challenged but for their various mishaps at the start of their heat. They also have big guns like Michael Hepburn and Rohan Dennis that could potentially reinforce them. The same applies to GB, of course, and they don’t come much bigger than Sir Brad. Pete Kennaugh, a champ in 2012 is also a possibility, though one would think he might be a serious Tour de France player come next year.

The Brits: Clancy, Burke, Tennant, Wiggins

Prediction:

Gold: GB

Silver: Australia

Bronze: New Zealand

Omnium

This is one of the more difficult events to predict and even forecasting who will be in the field is tough. The medals here went to Fernanda Gaviria of Colombia, Glenn O’Shea of Australia and Elia Viviani of Italy. None of the medalists from London – Lasse Norman Hansen, Bryan Coquard and Gb’s Ed Clancy – competed in this event in Paris and all could feasibly return for Rio. Clancy, one suspects will probably stick with the team pursuit which might allow Ben Swift to step in given than Jon Dibben has struggled in the multiple chances he’s received to seal the spot. Swifty will need to show improvement in the flying lap and kilo, but the potential is there for sure.

British representation: Ben Swift

Gold: Bryan Coquard

Silver: Glenn O’Shea

Bronze:Elia Viviani

Women’s events to follow soon.

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