Hoy takes to track in optimistic mood

01 August 2012 / 16:26

Four-time Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy is optimistic ahead of the start of his London 2012 campaign on Thursday.

Qualification in the much-anticipated four-man, four-kilometre team pursuit takes place on day one on the track, with medals available in the three-man, three-lap team sprint and in the corresponding women's event.

Hoy and Jason Kenny won team sprint gold in Beijing and are bidding to defend their title alongside newcomer Philip Hindes.

The event has been troublesome for Britain since 2008 and the trio were off the pace at April's Track Cycling World Championships, when Hindes was relegated for a takeover infringement as Britain missed out on a medal-round ride.

Hoy said: "Since the worlds it has gone incredibly well and we have made significant strides. We are going to be at our best since Beijing.

"The teams are so close that any medal would be an achievement, but that's not saying we are not looking to win gold. It is so close between the top teams that if you are in the mix you can win any colour."

Like Britain, Germany were relegated in Melbourne as Australia won gold, France silver and New Zealand bronze.

Regulations limiting the number of competitors per event meant Kenny was selected ahead of Hoy in the individual sprint, which begins on Saturday, but France and Germany have exploited a loophole in International Cycling Union regulations to select an additional sprinter in their track teams.

Mickael Bourgain started the opening day road race for France, withdrawing after less than three kilometres, and Robert Forstemann has been named by Germany for the closing weekend's mountain bike event. It means the duo can come into their team sprint squads as a fresh rider, giving France and Germany an advantage with three rounds in close proximity.

Hoy added: "It is very close between ourselves, France and Germany, who have picked riders in other events that they can move across to the sprint which makes a bit of a mockery of the UCI rules, and Australia."