British Cycling has stepped up its preparations for Rio 2016 with the appointment of a new lead psychologist.
Queensland-born Ruth Anderson, who will start her new role on June 1, was the head psychologist for the Australian Olympic team at both Beijing 2008 and London 2012, and has also held roles within the country’s swimming, diving and tennis programmes.
Technical director Shane Sutton said of the appointment: “The Great Britain cycling team has dominated over the past two Olympic cycles, which places a huge amount of pressure on our current, relatively young team, so I think Ruth will add real value to their mental preparations ahead of Rio.”
The news comes in the aftermath of disappointing results at the 2015 Track World Championships in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France, where the team picked up just three silver medals and the women team pursuiters were thrashed by Australia in their final.
That defeat – Laura Trott’s first for four years – marked the first time since 2001 that Great Britain had failed to win at least one gold medal at the championships, and British Cycling will hope that this appointment goes a long way towards arresting any thoughts of decline – not least among its riders.