Despite still keeping his options open, Sir Chris Hoy has every confidence in the future of the Great Britain team on the track.
The six-time Olympic champion has admitted that while he is unlikely to continue competing as far as the Rio Games in 2016, but has not closed off the possibility of rounding off a glittering career at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The flag bearer at the London 2012 Games, Hoy won two gold medals and ever since a memorable August has been swept off his feet with a flurry of accolades, notably being handed the freedom of his home town, Edinburgh.
Despite the busy schedule Hoy has looked to keep things ticking over, heading back onto the boards whenever possible.
“I’ve been on twice on two afternoon’s back in Manchester on the track just to keep it ticking over,” the Scot explained. “I didn’t want to leave it too long before I got back into it. I’m riding my bike and getting to the gym whenever I can. So I’m certainly still training, just because I want to, not necessarily for the competitive element.”
Understandably it has been difficult for Hoy to let the achievements of himself and his fellow GB athletes sink in.
“I’ve haven’t had a chance to really sit down, reflect and think about it all,” he added. “I’ve not been home for more than 48 hours. I’ve been travelling up and down the country and then first chance to get a holiday in will probably be in November. That’s when I’ll be able to sit down and take in what the whole team have achieved.”
Back in action
With the track season getting back under way Great Britain will be sending teams to the opening UCI World Cup event in Colombia in October, but most notably the second round in Glasgow on November 16-18.
Hoy knows better than most the challenges of getting back into competition following the euphoric highs of the Olympics. On returning to the track he explains: “I don’t think it’s too difficult. It depends on the individual, but for me and the experience I’ve had in the past, usually you’re desperate to get back into it after a while.
“You’ve gone from being very disciplined and very focused on training and competition - resting, diet, everything. Then all that gets thrown out of the window and you have late nights, early starts and you’re eating and drinking whatever you like and not training. It isn’t too long before your body starts to cry out and you’re desperate to get back into that routine and that way of life where you’re looking after yourself again.
“I think psychologically some people might find it difficult - not so much the getting back into training - but the first big competition when you realise it’s not the Olympics and it’s not the big one. That can be quite tough as you get a lot of athletes who missed the Olympics or didn’t do well at the Olympics. They will be hugely motivated to come back very strongly as they are looking to make up for previous disappointments.”
Leading the way
With the recent retirement of Victoria Pendleton and Hoy likely out of the picture heading into the next four-year competition cycle, there are opportunities for a new crop of athletes to step forward and compete for places within the team.
Looking to the immediate future, Hoy expects his team sprint team-mate Jason Kenny to continue his rise in the sport.
“Jason is the one now who has been Olympic sprint and team sprint champion. He’s the one who will be raised up towards the head of the team. Ed Clancy is potentially going to be doing some team sprinting as well as his team pursuiting. Then with the girls you’ve got Jess Varnish and Becky James. There are a number of talented athletes there. Whilst there is some of our older talent that is retiring or coming to the end of their career, there are some equally talented athletes coming through.”
Central to the success of Team GB has been the committed work of the coaching and backroom staff, a group of unsung heroes who Hoy is quick to praise.
“It’s so nice to see the success and what it means to everyone in the team, not just the athletes,” he said.
“You watch the videos of the racing and the stuff I actually enjoy watching the most isn’t the racing itself it’s the reaction of your coaches and the support crew when you win. Those people don’t get the same recognition that the athletes do and they don’t get what they deserve. But they don’t do it for that, they do it because they enjoy being a part of the team and realise their impact is a significant one. The athletes really appreciate it.”
The 2012 Gillette ‘Great Starts’ campaign celebrates community coaches and inspires the next generation of coaches by providing them with grants to fund their next level qualifications. The campaign concluded at an event attended by ambassadors Sir Chris Hoy and Liam Tancock who celebrated with the successful recipients of this year’s grants.