The Team Sprint squad for London 2012 was always going to be a challenge. The chances of Jamie Staff making it to another games at the age of 39 were slim at best. Track Sprint Coach Iain Dyer has been talking to British Cycling about the search for a new line-up.
The search for a new Team Sprint line-up began in Pruszkow in 2009 with Sir Chris Hoy’s absence
prompting a Staff-Kenny-Crampton formation that was good enough for Silver
The experiments began immediately after Beijing and nothing has worked quite as well as the Beijing trio. Several combinations have been good enough to win medals – two Silvers and a Bronze at the last three World Championships – but Golds have been elusive. Jason Kenny, Sir Chris Hoy and Matt Crampton were selected for the 2011 European Championships in October, finishing fifth after a slipped wheel for Kenny, while more recently Ross Edgar, Jason Kenny and Jason Queally finished seventh at the Kazakhstan leg of the UCI Track World Cup.
trackcycling spoke to Jamie Staff’s shortly after his retirement in 2010 and he spoke of the frustration of having a healthy choice of sprinters both on the Podium Programme and coming through the Academy and yet struggling to find the perfect combination. While Kenny seemed to have the potential to take over the man one slot, finding a auitable man two was proving harder.
“Jamie Staff was such a very strong man one and when paired with Jason Kenny in man two and Chris Hoy in man three we had a team were we could honestly say each athlete was the very best in the world in that position and that’s a pretty rare occurrence for any team or relay style event,” Dyer told British Cycling.
“It was always going to be a very tall order to maintain that performance with different team personnel. For a large chunk of that time we have operated with Jason in one and Chris in two. Now those guys remain, in my opinion, the very best man two and man three in the world and we’ve ridden them out of position for a long time because a lot of the qualities that make them as good as they are in man two and man three have enabled them to be good in man one and man two respectively, but not quite as good as the very best in those positions.
“I think as a result of that we’ve tried various different combinations, we’ve tried Matt Crampton in man three behind those two and we’ve also looked at different man one riders to see if we can push Jason and Chris back up the order and that’s been our plan for quite some time now. But good man ones don’t grow on trees and to be as strong and powerful as you need to be takes a lot of time and a lot of development as Jamie [Staff] demonstrated in Beijing.
“It also takes a very single minded focus. It’s extremely difficult and rare to be a very good sprint and keirin rider and also excel in man one, so Ross Edgar has been dealing with that challenge in the last year or two and I believe at this point has shown really good development and progression in that position.
“It’s our plan to roll Ross out at man one, Jason at man two and Chris at man three at London World Cup and see what that gives us. Unfortunately in the last few weeks Ross has been battling against an injury so we hope that he’ll be on form for London but he might just come up a little short on time to rehabilitate the injury and progress his fitness once again.”