After early suggestions that the long trip to Australia would hinder preparations for their home Olympic Games, Great Britain has confirmed that they will send a full strength team to the 2012 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Melbourne this April.
Speculation began after the 2011 world championships in Apeldoorn when performance director Dave Brailsford considered the opportunity to compete in Melbourne counterproductive due to the time required for travel, training, competing and to overcome jet lag.
But with less than 100 days until the 2012 Track Worlds, Brailsford has declared the championships will be vital for his teams Olympic preparations.
“We just can’t give up any opportunities to race, the Olympics are getting too close,” Brailsford told to UK Telegraph.
“There are just two world cup meetings and the world championships in Melbourne left now. The clock is counting down very quickly.
“There is something about the process of pinning a number on your back in a major competition and going to the start line at a world championships, there is no substitute for that.”
The pressure is on Great Britain after they dominated the Beijing Olympics in 2008 with seven gold medals but the competition is expected to be a lot closer next year.
Australia topped the medal tally for the second year running at this year’s world championships winning eight of a possible 19 gold medals, including six of the ten Olympic events contested whilst New Zealand were impressive at last month’s Oceania Championships.
If all goes to plan, Brailsford says Melbourne will provide Great Britain with a psychological advantage over their rivals.
“You have got to get used to it – you have got to go out into the velodrome on race day and go through the process. It’s the closest you will get in terms of preparing for the Olympics,” Brailsford said. “It’s a no-lose situation really. If it goes well we will have landed a few psychological blows on our main opponents and if it does not go so well in some events we still have some time to put it right and you can change a lot in three months. “