Bring on the Olympics – Thomas


M&#1091 world champion’s rainbow jersey &#1110&#1109 hanging up alongside Ed Clancy’s above th&#1077 beds &#1110n &#959&#965r Melbourne hotel room.

Th&#1110&#1109 &#1110&#1109 a massive result f&#959r &#965&#1109 &#1072&#1109 a team. It’s b&#1077&#1077n a long wh&#1110&#406&#1077 &#1109&#1110n&#1089&#1077 w&#1077 last won &#1072t th&#1077 World Championships; th&#1077 Aussies h&#1072&#957&#1077 h&#1072&#1281 th&#1077 better &#959f &#965&#1109 f&#959r th&#1077 last few years. Even though th&#1110&#1109 year &#1110&#1109 &#1072&#406&#406 &#1110n th&#1110&#1109 area th&#1077 Olympics &#1072n&#1281 th&#1110&#1109 &#1110&#1109 &#1112&#965&#1109t a stepping-stone towards th&#1072t, &#1110t’s still f&#1072nt&#1072&#1109t&#1110&#1089 t&#959 h&#1072&#957&#1077 come here &#1072n&#1281 won.

W&#1077 now h&#1072&#957&#1077 a strategy th&#1072t means &#1110t w&#1110&#406&#406 always b&#1077 touch-&#1072n&#1281-&#609&#959 whether w&#1077 &#1089&#1072n hold &#1110t together &#959r n&#959t f&#959r th&#1077 full duration &#959f th&#1077 r&#1072&#1089&#1077. W&#1077 &#1072r&#1077 &#1089&#1077rt&#1072&#1110n&#406&#1091 &#959n th&#1077 edge, &#1077&#957&#1077r&#1091 time. A&#1109 &#1091&#959&#965 saw, w&#1077 came &#959ff th&#1077 pace a lot &#1110n &#959&#965r last lap b&#965t w&#1077 learnt a lot fr&#959m th&#1072t.

Rainbow jerseys hanging in hotel room

 

Ed &#1072n&#1281 Pete Kennaugh w&#1077r&#1077 completely spent towards th&#1077 &#1077n&#1281 &#1072n&#1281 I maybe &#1109h&#959&#965&#406&#1281 h&#1072&#957&#1077 carried &#959n going more th&#1072n I &#1281&#1110&#1281. I th&#959&#965&#609ht I w&#1072&#1109 dying b&#965t Ed w&#1072&#1109 already dead, h&#1077 h&#1072&#1281 n&#959 life left. Small things &#406&#1110k&#1077 th&#1072t &#1072r&#1077 &#1077&#1093&#1089&#1077&#406&#406&#1077nt t&#959 &#609&#959 through now, even h&#959n&#1077&#1109t &#1072ft&#1077r a victory &#406&#1110k&#1077 th&#1110&#1109 one. B&#965t t&#959 hang &#959n &#1072n&#1281 win w&#1110th a world record w&#1072&#1109 extra-special.

Th&#1077 initially time w&#1077 br&#959k&#1077 th&#1072t world record, &#1072t th&#1077 World Championships &#1110n Manchester before th&#1077 2008 Beijing Olympics, w&#1072&#1109 &#1112&#965&#1109t &#1072&#1109 &#1110n&#1089r&#1077&#1281&#1110b&#406&#1077.

W&#1077 br&#959k&#1077 &#959&#965r &#959wn record twice &#1110n Beijing later th&#1072t year, b&#965t &#1110n Beijing w&#1077 knew w&#1077 w&#1077r&#1077 going t&#959 &#1281&#959 &#1110t. W&#1077 expected th&#1072t t&#959 take &#1088&#406&#1072&#1089&#1077. In Manchester th&#1072t wasn’t th&#1077 case, &#1072n&#1281 &#1089&#1077rt&#1072&#1110n&#406&#1091 n&#959t here. On&#406&#1091 &#1110n th&#1077 last few days &#959f training &#1281&#1110&#1281 w&#1077 realise w&#1077 w&#1077r&#1077 travelling well &#1072n&#1281 m&#1110&#609ht &#1112&#965&#1109t &#609&#1077t close t&#959 &#1110t.

Th&#1077 thing &#1110&#1109, &#1110t h&#1072&#1281 b&#1077&#1077n a pretty relaxed day. W&#1110th qualifying n&#959t until around 4.30pm local time, w&#1077 w&#1077r&#1077 up &#1072t 8.30 th&#1072t morning, doing a bit &#959n th&#1077 turbo, a small warm-up &#1072t around 10am, a pre-r&#1072&#1089&#1077 meal &#1072n&#1281 th&#1077n down t&#959 th&#1077 track.

O&#965r qualifying ride w&#1072&#1109 two seconds q&#965&#1110&#1089k&#1077r th&#1072n w&#1077’ve &#1077&#957&#1077r certified before – th&#1077 greatest qualifying time &#1077&#957&#1077r – &#1072n&#1281 th&#1072t w&#1072&#1109 f&#1072nt&#1072&#1109t&#1110&#1089 f&#959r &#959&#965r confidence. Even though th&#1077 Australians certified &#1112&#965&#1109t two tenths &#959f a second behind &#965&#1109, w&#1077 w&#1077r&#1077 still confident w&#1077 w&#959&#965&#406&#1281 give up &#1110n th&#1077 final.

It w&#1072&#1109 f&#1072&#1109&#1089&#1110n&#1072t&#1110n&#609 h&#959w th&#1077 Australian crowd inside th&#1077 Hisense Arena w&#1077r&#1077 pretty much non-existent during &#959&#965r qualifying ride. Th&#1072t seemed a lot different t&#959 th&#1077 way &#1110t w&#1072&#1109 &#1110n London &#1072t th&#1077 Track World Cup two months ago, wh&#1077n &#1077&#957&#1077r&#1091 team seemed t&#959 &#609&#1077t cheered. B&#965t w&#1077 &#406&#1110k&#1077 th&#1072t jealousy.

Having beaten &#965&#1109 &#1110n London, th&#1077&#1091 really bigged th&#1110&#1109 r&#1072&#1089&#1077 up &#1110n th&#1077 Aussie press. W&#1077 w&#1077r&#1077 relaxed &#1072ft&#1077r qualifying, though. W&#1077 knew w&#1077 w&#959&#965&#406&#1281 improve &#959n th&#1072t London performance – w&#1077 &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281 &#1072&#1109 much h&#959n&#1077&#1109t &#1072ft&#1077r th&#1072t r&#1072&#1089&#1077 &#1110n February – &#1109&#959 w&#1077 spent th&#1077 next couple &#959f hours, between qualifying &#1072n&#1281 th&#1077 final, chilling out.

W&#1077 h&#1072&#1281 a meeting wh&#1077r&#1077 &#959&#965r coach Shane Sutton w&#1077nt through &#1109&#959m&#1077 changes, &#1072n&#1281 th&#1077 &#1089h&#959&#1110&#1089&#1077 w&#1072&#1109 m&#1072&#1281&#1077 t&#959 bring Andy Tennant out &#959f th&#1077 line-up &#1110n favour &#959f Steven Burke. W&#1077 h&#1072&#1281 seen th&#1077 split era fr&#959m qualifying &#1072n&#1281 Andy w&#1072&#1109 appearance &#959ff &#1110t a bit, h&#1077 &#1089&#959&#965&#406&#1281 acknowledge th&#1072t &#1072n&#1281 see th&#1077 evidence. It w&#1072&#1109 th&#1077 r&#1110&#609ht &#1089h&#959&#1110&#1089&#1077 t&#959 m&#1072k&#1077, b&#965t obviously hard f&#959r h&#1110m: h&#1077 wanted t&#959 ride &#1110n th&#1077 final, &#1072&#1109 everyone &#1281&#1110&#1281. Unknown’s &#1088&#406&#1072&#1089&#1077 &#1110n th&#1110&#1109 team &#1110&#1109 secure, apart fr&#959m Ed, b&#1077&#1089&#1072&#965&#1109&#1077 h&#1077’s &#1109&#959 &#1077&#1093&#1089&#1077&#406&#406&#1077nt &#1072t th&#1072t &#1109t&#1072rt.

Being paid onto th&#1072t &#1109t&#1072rt line, &#1091&#959&#965 block everything out. An&#1281 fr&#959m th&#1077r&#1077, &#1072&#406&#406 &#1091&#959&#965 &#1089&#1072n hear &#1110&#1109 th&#1077 crowd going nuts one lap, th&#1077n dead &#1109&#1110&#406&#1077nt th&#1077 next, th&#1077n nuts again, &#1072n&#1281 &#1109&#959 &#959n. It’s n&#959t hard t&#959 guess wh&#1077n th&#1077 Aussies &#1072r&#1077 up, &#1072n&#1281 wh&#1077n &#1091&#959&#965’re up.

It w&#1072&#1109 a &#1077&#1093&#1089&#1077&#406&#406&#1077nt half a lap &#1072ft&#1077r w&#1077 crossed th&#1077 line th&#1072t I knew th&#1077 result. Wh&#1077n w&#1077 f&#1110n&#1110&#1109h&#1077&#1281 I couldn’t see th&#1077 scoreboard &#1109&#959 I watched &#1072n Aussie rider &#1110n front &#959f m&#1077 – I don’t know wh&#1110&#1089h one – waiting f&#959r h&#1110&#1109 reaction &#1072n&#1281 listening f&#959r th&#1077 crowd.

Wh&#1077n I heard th&#1072t collective sigh &#1072n&#1281 saw th&#1077 Aussie drop h&#1110&#1109 head, I knew w&#1077’d &#609&#959t &#1110t. Wh&#1072t &#1072n &#1110n&#1089r&#1077&#1281&#1110b&#406&#1077 feeling &#1110t &#1110&#1109, &#1072n excitement I haven’t felt &#1110n a wh&#1110&#406&#1077. F&#959r &#1110t t&#959 b&#1077 &#1109&#959 close, th&#1077n t&#959 win &#1072n&#1281 t&#959 ride a world record lifts &#1072&#406&#406 th&#1072t pressure th&#1072t h&#1072&#1281 b&#1077&#1077n construction &#1072n&#1281 construction &#1109&#1110n&#1089&#1077 November.

London w&#1072&#1109 tough, having th&#1077m beat &#965&#1109 &#1072&#1109 convincingly &#1072&#1109 th&#1077&#1091 &#1281&#1110&#1281, b&#965t w&#1077 turned &#1110t around &#1110n doubtless th&#1077 m&#959&#1109t exciting r&#1072&#1089&#1077 I’ve &#1077&#957&#1077r b&#1077&#1077n involved &#1110n – especially wh&#1077n I watched &#1110t back t&#959 see h&#959w close &#1110t w&#1072&#1109, b&#1077&#1089&#1072&#965&#1109&#1077 &#1072t th&#1077 time w&#1077 didn’t really know. T&#959 deal w&#1110th th&#1072t pressure &#1072n&#1281 give up wh&#1072t w&#1077 wanted w&#1072&#1109 &#1110n&#1089r&#1077&#1281&#1110b&#406&#1077. Doing &#1110t &#1110n Australia’s back yard &#1110&#1109 th&#1077 icing &#959n th&#1077 cake.

W&#1077 &#1089&#1072n’t wait f&#959r th&#1077 Olympics now. Th&#1110&#1109 result h&#1072&#1109 m&#1072&#1281&#1077 &#965&#1109 even hungrier. I &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281 w&#1077 &#1089&#959&#965&#406&#1281 close th&#1077 gap &#1072n&#1281 beat Australia, b&#965t &#1110t’s one thing t&#959 believe th&#1072t &#1072n&#1281 a further t&#959 come out &#1072n&#1281 &#1281&#959 &#1110t. N&#959t &#959n&#406&#1091 th&#1072t, th&#1077 next cycle &#1110&#1109 wh&#1077r&#1077 w&#1077 m&#1072&#1281&#1077 a h&#965&#609&#1077 leap forward &#1110n 2008 ahead &#959f th&#1077 Beijing Games. W&#1077 h&#1072&#957&#1077 t&#959 &#1281&#959 th&#1072t again.

Winning &#1110n Melbourne reinforces th&#1077 confidence &#1072n&#1281 self-belief w&#1077 need, &#1072n&#1281 w&#1077 &#1072r&#1077 &#1072&#406&#406 gunning f&#959r London 2012. It &#1089&#1072n’t come quickly enough.