Heavily changed British track cycling team travels to Munich

The British track cycling team travels to Munich for the European Championships, almost indistinguishable from the team that topped the medal table at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 12 months ago.

Only five of the 18 riders who traveled to Germany competed at the Izu Velodrome, while three of the section’s four head coaches changed last year and the one remaining – women’s endurance coach Monica Greenwood – attended her last event before retiring will be.

Fresh faces in the middle of an Olympic cycle are not uncommon and several big names absent here – including Dame Laura Kenny, Katie Archibald, Elinor Barker and Ryan Owens – are expected to return. But the upheaval in the coaching ranks points to bigger changes.

The appointment of Sir Jason Kenny as men’s sprint coach grabbed most of the headlines, while Australia’s four-time world champion Kaarle McCulloch has taken over the women’s sprint team and Monica’s husband Ben Greenwood has replaced Iain Dyer as men’s endurance coach. Monica’s successor has not yet been named.

“It was busy!” benefits director Stephen Park said of the turnover. “As with athletes, there are certain times when you have a kind of changing of the guard.

“There are some people on our team that we might feel are getting on in years, maybe they have a way of working that we don’t think is necessarily in the direction of the culture that we want. Likewise … there are others who have taken other opportunities to move on.”

Speaking to drivers during the Commonwealth Games, it was clear some appreciated hearing new voices, although the women’s endurance team will be sorry to lose Monica Greenwood, who was only appointed last year but has already stepped down , as she continues to race herself.

Sir Jason Kenny retired from competition earlier this year to switch to coaching (Jane Barlow/PA)

(PA wire)

The new coaching team is inexperienced. Ben Greenwood worked at the British Cycling Academy for three years before being promoted in March, but both Kenny and McCulloch are in their first coaching roles since retirement.

With qualifying for the Paris Olympics starting next year, they need to hit the ground running.

“They clearly don’t have the years of coaching knowledge and experience that some of our outgoing coaches have,” Park added. “We have a lot to do to support them as we go through this program, but I think the spirit and vibe at camp has been fantastic.”

In light of the changes, Park warned Britain, looking ahead to Paris, “to manage our expectations accordingly”, although the Scot said the same before watching his team dominate in all disciplines in Tokyo.

As the track undergoes an overhaul, the BMX freestyle team is led by Olympic champions Charlotte Worthington and Declan Brooks, and mountain bike champion Tom Pidcock is aiming for European glory before meeting his main goal at the Worlds later this month.

Tom Pidcock aims for further mountain bike fame (Jasper Jacobs/PA)

(PA Archive)

Munich is the second time that the multi-sport European Championships have been combined into one event, four years after the 2018 Games, which were co-hosted by Berlin and Glasgow.

Keely Hodgkinson and Jake Wightman are looking to contribute to recent World and Commonwealth success, while Birmingham stars like gymnast Jake Jarman and Joe Fraser are back for more when they wear Britain’s shirts just days after the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony switch .

Athletics, cycling, triathlon, gymnastics and rowing return from the 2018 edition, while beach volleyball, canoe sprint, sport climbing and table tennis complete the programme. Swimming and diving are holding their own championships instead, while golf is not making a return.

Between Thursday and the end of the competition on August 21, some 4,700 athletes from 50 nations will compete for 177 titles across the nine sports, in what organizers say is the largest multi-sport Germany has hosted since the 1972 Munich Olympics.

https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/munich-great-britain-laura-kenny-tom-pidcock-elinor-barker-b2142306.html Heavily changed British track cycling team travels to Munich

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