Jason Queally has confirmed that he is to return to the British sprint squad in a bid to make it to the London Olympics next year.
40-year-old Queally had retired from the British squad when he wasn’t selected for the Beijing Olympics. He made a foray in to Paralympic tandem piloting, but returned to international competition with surprise move to the team pursuit squad.
Having trained briefly with the pursuiters as a pacer he was asked to join them full time early last year, and the change of focus was not unsuccessful. Queally won a gold medal at the European championships, although he has now conceded, in an interview with the Guardian, that the competition for places in that discipline is too hot.
Both Bradley Wiggins and Geraint Thomas returned for the recent Manchester world cup and will be strong contenders for the Olympic squad, along with Ed Clancy, Steven Burke and Andy Tennant. Peter Kennaugh and Ben Swift are also challenging for a spot.
“I was asked if I would like to come back into the team sprint squad by senior management to try out for man three in London,” Queally told the Guardian. The news had earlier leaked out when a brainstorming session in the British Cycling offices was recorded on a white board but not wiped clean, according to Richard Moore’s Sky Sports blog.
Queally’s return raises questions over the capabilities of Ross Edgar, Matt Crampton and the development of David Daniell. Sir Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny have stayed at the top of world sprinting since Beijing while Edgar and Crampton have remained a bike length behind.
There’s not much in it, and both are competitive on a world stage, but in an event decided by fractions of a second the difference between a winning sprinter and one in the top ten is crucial.
And it’s not as if the British team has failed since winning the Olympic team sprint – in the subsequent world championships they’ve taken a silver and a bronze medals – but they’ve always been a few tenths of a second behind the French and have got no where near their worlds best time of 42.950 seconds they set in Beijing.
Queally first came to prominence when he won Olympic gold in the kilometre time trial and silver in the team sprint in Sydney 2000. He has won two silver and one bronze world medals before being edged out of the trio by Jamie Staff. He then got back in to the line up to win his only world title in the team sprint in 2005.
He will rejoin training with the sprint squad after this year’s world championships in Apeldoorn; March 23-27.