Milngavie cyclist Katie Archibald and the rest of the Team GB team pursuit line-up will be the squad to beat at this summer’s Olympics.
That’s the view of Scotland’s Olympic cycling legend Sir Chris Hoy – but he has warned against any complacency.
Archibald heads to Rio as part of Team GB’s cycling squad and will compete alongside Laura Trott, Joanna Rowsell-Shand, Ciara Horne and Elinor Barker in the team pursuit.
The British trio of Trott, Rowsell-Shand and Dani King claimed gold in the event at London 2012, although four cyclists now ride per team
Injury forced Archibald out of the Track Cycling World Championships in London earlier this year, where the quartet of Horne, Trott, Rowsell-Shand and Barker suffered slight disappointment by only collecting bronze.
But Hoy – who won six Olympic gold medals and one silver during a stellar career – believes that with Archibald back in the mix, they are still in a great place heading towards Rio.
“I think the team pursuit – men and women – are in a really good position,” said Hoy. “If you are going to put any money on any medals then you are looking at the two team pursuit events.
“The women are flying and fingers crossed for them. They have a huge amount of strength in depth in the team but it doesn’t take much for things to change very quickly.
“We saw that in the World Championships at the start of the year when Katie Archibald suffered a big injury which meant she missed out.
“That shifted the dynamic of the team just a little bit and they underperformed just enough to miss out on the gold-silver ride-off.
“So you can never take it for granted, even though they do have great strength in depth.
“They will be hoping that all five of the riders are absolutely in top form and 100 per cent ready for the Games. If they are, then they will be a very tough team to beat.”
Britain’s most successful Olympian was speaking at Six Day London’s ‘Inside Track with Chris Hoy’ event in London.
Six Day London, which was launched in 2015, sees some of the world’s best cyclists competing over the course of six nights at the Lee Valley VeloPark in a party-like atmosphere.
Six Day London comes hot on the heels of the Olympic Games, where Hoy is convinced Great Britain will fare rather well.
“I think Team GB will be the top nation in the cycling,” he added. “They won’t dominate in the same way that we have at the last two Games before Rio 2016 but I am expecting four gold medals and maybe three minor medals – with the potential of five gold medals.
“They will play that down but that is what I think they can achieve: [I expect golds] in the men and women’s team pursuit, Laura Trott in the omnium, Jason Kenny at least one gold medal and then you have Mark Cavendish in the omnium, Kenny in his two other events, Becky James as well.
“Four or five gold medals are not unachievable at all and if they do that then they will be the top performing nation.”
PLEASE LEAVE IN FINAL PAR – Six Day London takes place between 25-30 October 2016 at Lee Valley VeloPark on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Half term fun, with or without the kids. Tickets on sale now at www.sixday.com