'I’ll make sure there’s a bike available if you think you’re good enough' - British Cycling boss responds to critics after Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Team GB was the best cycling nation in this year’s Games, matching the number of medals from London and Rio

British Cycling performance director Stephen Park
(Image credit: Barrington Coombs/Getty Images for British Olympic Association)

The head of performance at British Cycling has reflected on the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, as Great Britain topped the medals table in two-wheel events.  

Team GB leave Japan with 12 cycling medals, matching their performances in the London and Rio Olympics and just two short of the record haul from Beijing in 2008.

While British Cycling’s performance on the track was in doubt heading into the Games, as other nations had dramatically closed the gap in major competitions, the Team GB track stars delivered multiple golds.

But the Great Britain Cycling Team also flourished in other cycling disciplines, winning gold in BMX freestyle and racing, as well as mountain bike gold with Tom Pidcock.

In an interview with The Telegraph, British Cycling performance director Stephen Park said: ‘We’ve had a tough few years at British Cycling, different people taking different views. I have always been very conscious of the legacy of the British cycling team.

“The question was whether we could maintain top team status. For those listening three years ago I was saying the dominance of the track would not be the same because of the movement in equipment. That’s proven to be the case.”

But Park said it’s a “relief and pleasing” that British cyclists were able to perform both on the track and in other disciplines.

Team GB has been a dominant force in track cycling since the 2008 Olympics in China, but that status has been tested in recent years as other nations have made efforts to close the gap.

In the team pursuit, Denmark have sought the expertise of British aerodynamicist Dan Bigham, while the Dutch cycling federation have employed another Brit, Mehdi Kordi, to lead their sprint programme, both to much success. 

But despite the emergence of other contenders on the track, Team GB were still able to pick up golds in the men’s Omnium (Matt Walls), the women’s Madison (Katie Archibald and Laura Kenny) and in the Keirin with Jason Kenny.

Alongside the success on the velodrome GB also flourished in the BMX disciplines, a new addition to the Olympics, winning golds in women’s freestyle and racing, as well also bronze and silver in the men’s events. 

As the Games closed on Sunday (August 8), Team GB topped the cycling medals table with 12 podiums, six of those golds, beating the Netherlands, also on 12 medals but with five golds.  

>>> British Cycling announces plans to grow BMX freestyle after Tokyo, including national competition structure

Park, who previously ran the GB Olympic sailing programme and took over as the head of British Cycling in 2016, added: “If you want to keep shouting, if you want to keep sniping, then feel free to give me a call. 

“I’ll make sure there’s a bike available if you think you’re good enough.”  

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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.