For the next five days, Laoshan velodrome in China will be the focal point of British Cycling?s Olympic medal aspirations. So what do the team management feel it will be like to race on for the riders?
Talking to Cycling Weekly on Thursday morning at Laoshan as the team pursuit went through their paces one last time, coach Matt Parker discussed how the Olympic track?s characteristics could affect the racing.
?This one has a narrow banking and long straights. So for the guys of the pursuit squad, say, the changes willl tend to be a little bit later, because the speed is higher.? Parker said.
?So guys will rejoin the squad further down the straight than they otherwise would. There?ll be more expansion and contraction of the squad ? gaps between the riders – than you would get on a circuit that?s more of a bowl.?
?That?s not too difficult. The toughest thing to get used to here is the steepness of the track ? but rather than the banking itself the exits and entries into those bankings. It holds you in a little bit more.?
?Longer straights [like at Laoshan] feel different. They make for harder work, because you?re working for longer and you begin to lose your rev on the straights.?
?In Manchester, say, [which is rounder], you get your momentum to go into the next banking and the next banking. Here your momentum?s that little bit less before you get thrown around the next bend.?
Parker says that there should not be a problem with the track because of this. ?You can get a lot of speed gain because it?s steep. Ultimately, it just feels different.?
As for the Laoshan structure itself, ?I?m no engineer but it?s certainly a very solid structure, well put together ? very quiet, too, because I believe the wood is laid on concrete, not wooden beams.?
As for the atmospheric conditions inside the velodrome, Parker warns that ?it?ll make for fast racing. In fact you?ll probably find that people tend to go out a little too fast, and there will be a definite risk of blowing in the last kilometre.?
?On circuits like this when you?re fresh you?re fine, but when you come into the last part, you have to really work to get your speed.?
How hot will it be? ?We?re expecting temperatures of around 26 degrees, which is fine. In Manchester this spring the temperature was around 24 or 25 degrees.?
And how does it compare with other tracks? ?I?ve not been to Los Angeles, but they say it?s not dis-similar. Or to Copenhagen or Bochum in Germany, or Perth in Australia where we did some training for six weeks.?
?So we?ve got used to this sort of track. It?s not a problem. We?re all ready to go.?
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