Six-time Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy has backed Colne cyclist Steven Burke for his third Olympic medal in Rio next month, insisting the team pursuit squad have what it takes to bag Team GB’s fifth consecutive podium finish in the event.
Team GB have not finished lower than the bronze medal position in the team pursuit since the Atlanta 1996 Games, winning the title in both Beijing and London.
Burke, played a pivotal role in the victory four years ago, and will take to the track alongside Sir Bradley Wiggins, Owain Doull and Ed Clancy come August.
The 28-year-old also has individual pursuit bronze from Beijing 2008 in his repertoire, and with an impressive Team GB cycling record to maintain, Hoy insists he expects nothing less than gold from the quartet in Rio.
“I think the team pursuit – men and women – are in a really good position.
“If you are going to put any money on any medals then you are looking at the two team pursuit events,” he said.
“For example Bradley Wiggins has slotted back into the men’s team really nicely, he had to work really hard for the position and part of the reason for the success in the team is the rivalry among the squads and they are in a really good place right now with five weeks to go.
“I spoke to them recently and they were really happy with the preparation.”
Having won a phenomenal 12 medals on home soil four years ago, the pressure is on Team GB to repeat their achievements as one of Britain’s most successful sports.
But six-time Olympic champion Hoy has no concerns, remaining confident the team will return with medals aplenty once the Games conclude.
“I think Team GB will be the top nation in the cycling.
“They won’t dominate in the same way that we have at the last two Games before Rio 2016, but I am expecting four gold medals and maybe three minor medals – with the potential of five gold medals,” added the 40-year-old, speaking at Six Day London’s ‘Inside Track with Sir Chris Hoy’ event last week in London.
“They will play that down but that is what I think they can achieve: [I expect golds] in the men and women’s team pursuit, Laura (Trott) in the omnium, Jason Kenny at least one gold medal and then you have Mark Cavendish in the omnium, Kenny in his two other events, Becky James as well.
“Four or five gold medals are not unachievable at all and if they do that then they will be the top performing nation.”
l Six Day London takes place between 25-30 October 2016 at Lee Valley VeloPark on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Half term fun, with or without the kids. Tickets on sale now at www.sixday.com