Track cyclist Chris Hoy is one of Britain’s best chances for a gold medal at the Olympic Games this summer, but the likeable Scot is already looking beyond Beijing to a career finale at the 2012 Games in London.
“Possibly I’ll take my zimmer to Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games in 2014 but an Olympic win in your own country would be an amazing way to finish,” Hoy told the Daily Mail.
His aim, then, is three Olympic gold medals in succession, a rare feat. “Fingers crossed,” said Hoy. “Got to win one in Beijing first.”
Hoy’s first Olympic gold medal was in the kilometer time trial at the 2004 Athens Games, but that event is no longer part of the program. Hoy was initially devastated that the event he dominated was out, but has since switched his attention to the keirin.
“Oddly, in the last few months, I’ve admitted it was one of the best things that could have happened for me. Just when I was looking for a new challenge, wondering how I was going to get up for it for four more years, they’d given me one.”
To say he’s risen to that challenge is an understatement. Hoy successfully defended his keirin world title in Manchester in March and has won every UCI World Cup keirin that he’s entered.
The support of Britain’s extensive track programme has been a major factor in his success, Hoy said. “It’s all about confidence, going into a race knowing we have the best programme, have done the most work, have the best equipment. The philosophy we have been given is that all we have to do is ride our bikes and just turn the pedals as fast as we can. The rest is taken care of.”
The riders have to put in too, and Hoy is certain nobody will have done more training by the time he lines up in China. “Putting yourself through four hours of pain every day for one minute of effort every fourth year,” is the price of success on the track.
The change of discipline has led to a change of training regime. “The kilo is a killer, a really nasty event where you’re trying to create lactic acid tolerance and that’s a horrible part of training,” said Hoy. “The keirin is speed and power, lots of training in the gym. It is all relative. If you don’t work hard, you won’t get results is the bottom line.
“I just like to get to the start line knowing there was nothing else I could have done, that there wasn’t a single session I didn’t give 100 per cent. The physical certainty means you can relax mentally and let the performance come.”