After Britain’s haul of medals at the velodrome in the 2012 London Olympics it was the refrain from those beaten on the track.
British riders do nothing for four years and then when the Olympics come round they are there standing on the top step of the medal podium.
Well the first bit of that isn’t true. They may think it just happens every four years that Britain top the medals table but they are there or there abouts during the World Championships as well. At least second or third if not top.
This time round though things were slightly different. Mainly down to the men’s team.
The fact the men’s team came away from the Velódromo Alcides Nieto Patiño, Cali, Columbia, with not a single medal of any colour. First time since 1998.
For the men it started badly and didn’t get much better. From the first morning when the reigning Olympic champions, last year’s silver medallists – though with a different line up – came eighth in qualifying right through to the final event the Madison where they came plumb last, four laps down and pointless.
Only one man in any medal race. Jason Kenny in the keiren, where he came fifth.
Well this is certainly lulling them into a false sense of security. You hope. The midpoint lull, halfway through the Olympic four year cycle. The likes of Ed Clancy and Kenny don’t become poor riders overnight.
But do the men just not have the depth of talent available that seems to be there on the women’s side. They won all five medals, 2 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze, that Britain came home with.
Dani King who had been a mainstay of they women’s team pursuit, that had won the last three world titles along with the Olympic gold, but here she was dropped from the now quartet that kept the title, though with a somewhat scrappy display in the final.
But even on this side it wasn’t plain sailing. Last years golden girl, Becky James, who nearly won as much last year as the whole team did this, was easily beaten in the sprint by team mate Jess Varnish, who was then easily beaten in the semifinal.
You knew things weren’t right when Laura Trott seemed to make an uncharacteristic mistake to be caught out and only finish fourth in the elimination race in the omnium.
Star of the show for Britain was Joanna Rowsell, again part of the all dominant team pursuit she added the individual pursuit crown with a blistering ride in the final putting 1.2 seconds on the reigning champion.
So questions now being asked of Dave Brailsford, most notably from his old technology sidekick, Chris Boardman. Yes Brailsford being there in Cali probably wouldn’t have made much difference but is his absence in the weeks and months prior detrimental to the British team’s build-up? Can he combine both British cycling and Team Sky? And if not which makes way? Tough questions.