The European Track Championships, which start today – Wednesday October 14 – in Grenchen, Switzerland, is a chance for the British riders to score some “morale points” according to Sir Chris Hoy.
With just 10 months to go until the Rio Olympics, the Championships are one of the few major chances left that the riders have to perform.
“You’re well aware that it’s getting towards the sharp end of things,” six-time Olympic champion Hoy told Cycling Weekly. “The guys will be playing it down but they will be definitely, definitely keen to score some morale points.”
As well as getting a psychological one-up on your rivals, Hoy said the Championships are a good chance to impress selectors, especially in the team and individual events where there are limited places up for grabs in the Olympics.
“I know the team pursuiters, men and women, will be like that. The team sprint, you only have a limited number of chances to show your hand now between now and the Games. For us four years ago there were five races and the Europeans were one of them, and that is what the selection is based on.”
The results are in
Britain’s 20-person squad includes riders such as Katie Archibald, Joanna Rowsell, Laura Trott and Sir Bradley Wiggins, who is making his senior European Track Championships debut in the team pursuit.
The four-person squads for both the men’s and women’s team pursuits, with qualifying taking place tonight, have been announced, with Trott, Archibald and Rowsell alongside Ciara Horne, and Wiggins joined by Steven Burke, Owain Doull and Andy Tennant.
Hoy’s last European Championships in 2011 in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, in the run up to London 2012 went far from plan.
“I had a disastrous last European Championships, I got ill, and I was ill in Apeldoorn and I was ill all week leading up to it, in solitary confinement with my head over a bowl, hoping that it would come good at the last minute,” Hoy said.
“It wasn’t the best start to my Olympic campaign, I remember how it felt that this did feel like the first step towards the final run in to the Games and therefore it made it feel all the more frustrating when it didn’t work out.”
However, he stressed the results are just a stepping-stone to Rio next year. “It’s all about that one day every four years that counts,” he said. “It’s not the be all and end all, but there’s nothing like getting off to a good start.”
The European Championships start today, and finish on Sunday October 18. Next up is the first round of the Track World Cup in Cali, Colombia at the end of the month, with the Track World Championships in London in March 2016.