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Laura Trott hits back at rivals' questions over GB Rio performance

"British Cycling has always been very much an Olympic-based programme," says Olympic champ...

Laura Trott has hit back at cyclists from other who have raised questions over how Team GB's riders were able to dominate at the velodrome at Rio, pointing out that the country targets the Olympic Games above world championships.

Riders including Australian former Olympic champion Anna Meares and Germany's Kristina Vogel, who won sprint gold against Great Britain's Becky James in Rio last week, have questioned how Team GB has managed to take most of the gold medals on the track programme in the last three Games despite often lacklustre performances in the world championships, which are held annually.

> Rivals question GB Olympic track cycling success

Team GB's track cyclists won six medals from nine events at Rio - the country missed qualification for the women's team sprint - compared to seven in 10 events at both Beijing in 2008 and at London four years ago.

In 2012, Trott helped Team GB win the women's sprint and also won the first ever women's omnium, and she also  claimed gold in both events this time round.

The 24-year-old, who a week ago today became Great Britain's most successful ever female Olympian as she claimed her fourth gold medal of her career, told BBC 5 Live:  "It is a little bit frustrating because there's a lot of hard work gone into that performance."

She added: "British Cycling has always been very much an Olympic-based programme, so for us it wasn't about clearing up at the World Championships.

"It's always been around the Olympics and that's what our funding is pushed towards."

British Cycling's funding via UK Sport, £30 million in the four-year cycle ahead of Rio, is based on performance at the Olympics - and is likely to increase after Team GB took 12 medals at Rio against a target of 8-10.

By contrast, the Australian sport funding model is based in large part on its riders' performance at world championships.

While Cycling Australia is calling for changes to funding to make its riders more competitive at the Olympics, there's the added complication between now and Tokyo 2020 of a home Commonwealth Games on Queensland's Gold Coast to contend with in 2018, where home riders will be expected to challenge for gold.

> Cycling Australia pushes to adopt GB Olympic-based funding model

In the four editions of the world championships after Beijing, Australia topped the medal table each time, with 23 wins, but Great Britain emulated them in the final edition ahead of London 2012 by taking six golds, their rivals forging ahead by virtue of having more medals in total - but many of those in non-Olympic events.

In the build-up to Rio, Australian riders took 11 world championship victories, but were second or third in the table each time - while Great Britain finished top in both 2013 and 2016, with five victories each time.

But while Team GB took 20 Olympic gold medals between Beijing, London and Rio, Australia has just one - Anna Meares' individual sprint gold in London.


Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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RobertMW | 7 years ago

On the Sutton subject, I'm sure the Australians would love to employ Shane if they ever get the chance. (Anyone heard anything?) He is one of the main reasons for GB's success since Beijing. I'm sure a bit of bullying does go on, but usually cyclists are not whingers and I'm sure most of the riders benefitted from his knowledge and experience. You can't be too sensitive if you want to benefit from the rewards that success brings. Most of the medalists are now financially secure for the rest of their lives and they can thank Sir Dave, Shane and the rest of the back room team for laying the foundations of that success.

only1redders | 7 years ago

Firstly, Anna Meares finished 10th in the sprint competition, so it can't just be the British team whose performances, in her eyes, are suspicious/questionable/etc. 

Secondly, given that Anna Meares can supposedly outsprint a Porsche, the 9 women ahead of her must be able to outsprint Ferraris/Lamborghinis etc.

I'd be the first to express my utter disappointment and dejection if there ever proves to be anything dodgy behind the performances at Rio. However, the only scandal that has raised the ire of the media was Sutton's 'bullying' (if proven) and the ruthless way in which performance targets were applied (the results speak for themselves - although it was a shame not to see a women's team sprint)

DavidC | 7 years ago

Top track teams complain about losing: "They are winning so it is suspicious — suspicious because we were beating them before which, of course, was not suspicious."

Carton | 7 years ago

Come on, that's hardly "hitting back". That's just defending herself and her (pursuit) team. Which is fine, although some of the quotes posted elsewhere were a bit sharper than the ones above.

It does seem BC have placed a greater focus on the track and on the Olympics than other nations. But it's also clear than they've been extraordinarly successful by any standard. They aren't being overly defensive about it, which is good, considering that cycling fans ought to know better than to assume any athlete is pure as Madonna. But I'd hate to see "peaking" become the new "marginal gains".  They had a great week, let's just say cheers to that.

GoSlowToo | 7 years ago
1 like

What's Vogel bleating about, she fucking won.

Nick T | 7 years ago

Trott was in the sprint team?

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