Great Britain’s team sprint gold medalist Philip Hindes has revealed that coaches fitted a bigger gear on his bike in order to slow him down for the opening lap of the team sprint.
Hindes, 23, was so quick at the track world championships in London earlier this year that his teammates Jason Kenny and Callum Skinner struggled to hold his wheel from a standing start.
“I geared up since London, I went to 100 inch gear to slow myself down a bit so the other guys have it easy,” Hindes explained after winning the second gold medal of his career. “It paid off. I rode a 17.1 [second opening lap] so the guys behind me got an easy ride.”
GB’s head coach Iain Dyer explained that the larger gear slowed Hindes on the first half of his opening lap but allowed him to carry the speed and deliver Kenny and Skinner, man two and three respectively, in a better position.
The strategy paid off in Rio: New Zealand’s Ethan Mitchell set the quickest ever opening lap time at sea level of 16.995 seconds, 0.035 seconds quicker than Hindes’s effort. However Kenny turned the deficit around to an advantage of 0.086 seconds before Skinner finished the ride off with a 12.97 second final lap to win gold by 0.102 seconds.
“Phil did a stormer in worlds and we mucked around with gear choice a little bit with him to try and make the quickest team time as opposed to the quickest for him,” explained Skinner.
“I think that really paid off. As well as Jason and myself stepping up again, that’s what paid off.”