Throughout December we will be revealing Cycling Weekly‘s top 50 British riders of the year.
We will be revealing the final top ten in this year’s list of top 50 British Riders in the December 25 issue of Cycling Weekly magazine.
NO. 14: JAMIE STAFF
Four years on, we?re still scratching our heads wondering why Jamie Staff was disqualified in the second round of the Keirin in Athens. And that?s without mentioning the heartbreak in the team sprint, where Great Britain?s trio of Hoy, Maclean and Staff qualified only seventh and faced Germany in the knock-out round. Despite recording the second fastest time of the entire competition in that match-up, they lost to the Germans and were out.
So Staff, now 35, had some unfinished business with the five Olympic rings. This was a last shot at winning a medal, and although Great Britain were fancied to win at least bronze, they were thought to be behind the French in the running for the gold.
That was until the French trio trooped off to the opening ceremony in Beijing while the British opted to rest. Staff said then he knew they?d win gold.
Going into the Olympic Games with one goal in mind, one job to do, magnifies the pressure. Imagine how that felt for Staff, knowing that his entire Olympic Games career would be defined by a series of efforts lasting a little over 17 seconds each. One chance to get it right, knowing that the smallest slip could cost him and his team-mates gold. Just think about what that requires and you?ll understand the scale of Staff?s achievement. There was no fall-back, no Plan B.
The World Championships were a slight disappointment for the GB trio. They lost out to France for the gold at Manchester, but Staff had no cause for concern. He was solid and his place as man one looked secure.
But all the racing was done behind closed doors as Staff had to prove consistently in trials that he deserved his place.
Come Beijing and Staff had a dream day, one of those when everything goes right. In qualifying he kicked off with the fastest opening lap ever recorded on a 250-metre track. In 17.198 seconds he set GB on their way to the first sub-43-second team sprint, striking a hammer blow to the French.
In the final Staff again hit every note perfectly to secure his gold medal.
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RIDERS REVEALED SO FAR
December 20: No. 15 Shanaze Reade
December 19: No. 16 Paul Manning
December 18: No. 17 Sarah Storey
December 17: No. 18 Ross Edgar
December 16: No. 20 Chris Newton and 19 Wendy Houvenaghel
December 15: No. 22 Gee Atherton and 21 Rob Hayles
December 14: No. 24 Joanna Rowsell and 23 Simon Richardson
December 13: No. 26 Rachel Atherton and 25 Ben Swift
December 12: No. 28 Lizzie Armitstead and 27 Steven Burke
December 11: No. 30 Andrew Fenn and 29 Sharon Laws
December 10: No. 32 Peter Kennaugh and 31 Josh Bryceland
December 9: No. 34 Jody Cundy and 33 Liam Killeen
December 8: No. 36 David Millar and 35 Ian Stannard
December 7: No. 38 Daniel Fleeman and 37 Matt Crampton
December 6: No. 40 Jessica Allen and 39 Daniel Lloyd
December 5: No. 42 David Daniell and 41 Dean Downing
December 4: No. 44 Steve Peat and 43 Anna Blyth
December 3: No. 46 Jonny Bellis and 45 Jess Varnish
December 2: No. 48 Luke Rowe and 47 Michael Hutchinson
December 1: No. 50 Katie Colclough and 49 Chris Froome