Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Hoy Fired Up as He Bids for Hat-Trick in Cycling's Ashes

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Hoy Fired Up as He Bids for Hat-Trick in Cycling's Ashes

Article excerpt

Byline: Matt Majendie

THE Dutch town of Apeldoorn with a population of just 150,000 seems an unlikely setting for Britain's cyclists to lay their foundations for London 2012.

But the town's Omnisport venue, some 60 miles from Amsterdam, will be the first true marker for where the likes of Sir Chris Hoy, who celebrates his 35th birthday today, currently stand among the world's elite.

A series of World Cup events have preceded these Track World Cycling Championships but, with teams having chopped and changed for those meets, only now are the top riders altogether for the first time in the build-up to next year's Olympics.

The championships have been billed as an Ashes on two wheels as the two powerhouses of global track cycling -- Great Britain and Australia -- prepare to do battle but such a pre-event billing does a disservice to France, Germany and Russia.

Hoy and his Team GB team-mates no longer have the same invincibility they once had. The Scot still looks a class apart in the keirin but has a fight on his hands to lay claim to being Britain's top track sprinter, let alone the world's best.

Hoy's ambitions begin today alongside Jason Kenny in the team sprint, with the medals to be decided later tonight, before bidding for further medals in the individual event and the keirin.

Hoy was quick to play down his chances of a hat-trick of wins. "You don't go to the World Championships going for a medal haul. All you can do is go out and be the best you can possibly be in each event," said Hoy.

"You can't just produce medals because that depends on your rivals and what sort of performance they produce. The important thing for me is to just focus on my performance and not someone elses."

Also on track tonight will be Britain's team pursuit line-up, who without Beijing gold medallists Bradley Wiggins and Geraint Thomas are unlikely to topple the might of the Australians but should still come away with a medal. …

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