Friday, September 24, 2021
HomeInterviewsChris Hoy - the Next Olympic Keirin Champion?

Chris Hoy – the Next Olympic Keirin Champion?

-

Chris Hoy – the Next Olympic Keirin Champion?

You’re the Olympic kilometre champion, but the ‘powers that be’ decide to remove the event from the programme at the next Olympics — what do you do?  If you’re Chris Hoy, you go out and transform yourself into the best keirin rider in the world!

Chris Hoy
Looking reflects on the axing of ‘his’ event from the Olympics.

We’ve heard a lot about the kilometre being axed from the Olympics, but why did they do it, Chris?

“The bottom line is the number of events in the Olympic programme, there are so many events that if one is added then one has to go. In this case BMX was added, so the kilometre and 500 metres for the women were removed. China supplies 90% of the world’s BMX bikes, so they were happy with the change, plus it’s a ‘youth’ sport — which they like to have in the Games.”

I’ve seen different figures, how many keirins actually is it you have won, ‘on the trot?’

“In international competition, it’s 19 in a row; I lost one at the national championships, though.”

Chris Hoy
Chris is having to change his training to suit the other sprint events.

Is there a big difference between training for the kilometre and the keirin?

“My training now is for third man in the team sprint and the keirin; it’s not that different from what I used to do for the kilometre, just a few tweaks.

The main difference is with the mental approach; for the Olympic kilometre it was a four year build up for just one race, 100% focus on that one day.

With the team sprint and kilometre you have to be able to switch ‘on’ and ‘off’ between rides, at a World Cup, if you get to the finals of both events, you’ll be up on the track eleven times and racing throughout the whole programme of events. Your focus has to be tempered, so you don’t burn yourself out.”

Who are the ‘danger men?’

“There’s no one in particular, there are so many good guys that it’s pointless to focus on one of them. In the sprint at the Beijing World Cup, I qualified fifth, but I was only 6/100 of a second behind the fastest guy — that’s how competitive it is. What you actually do is to look for other guy’s weakness, so maybe you can exploit that in the future.”

Chris Hoy
Chris has been World Champion many times in various events.

Who’s ‘dangerous’ in the literal sense of the word?

“Anyone getting too physical will very quickly be pulled-up by the commissars; it’s a lot safer at Worlds level than it used to be. It’s at national championship level that you have to be careful, young riders coming in with the perception that it’s a ‘rough and tumble’ event.

“At the highest level it’s more about sustained speed, the dangerous bits tend to happen at lower speed, if you’re riding at 10.5 tempo, you don’t have much scope to move around!”

Do you have a tactical mentor or adviser?

“I have Jan van Eijden and Ian Dyer; Jan was world sprint champion in 2000, so has ‘hands-on’ experience; whilst Ian doesn’t have a cycling background, but he’s very insightful and analytical, he’ll see things that other people would miss.”

Chris Hoy
Frederic Magne.

Give us some keirin ‘secrets.’

“Speed is essential; you have to train like a sprinter. You have to have a game plan when you get-up to ride, but you have to be flexible, able to adapt if something happens that you’re not expecting. You have dictate, rather than waiting on the others, you have to get your move in first; nowadays the ‘waiting game’ is risky.

The event has changed a lot, with the kilo coming out of the Olympics it means that the kilo specialists are looking for another event, so the speed goes-on from further-out.

Frederic Magne (left, world keirin champion 1995, 1997 and 2000) was famous for opening a big gap before the speed had gone ‘full-on’ and holding it to the line; you couldn’t adopt that tactic now – it’s 10.5 speed from a long way out.

The sprinters are a bit miffed, especially those guys who relied on a late jump.”

The team sprint; a lot of competition to make the GB team now.

“There’s no animosity among the riders, but it’s very competitive and every place has to be earned, you can’t take anything for granted; but it has to be like that if you want to field the team that can win the Olympics.”

Chris Hoy
Chris has been the mainstay of the GB team sprint squad for over 12 years.

The Netherlands has appeared as a track force.

“I think that’s down to them having a few talented individuals who they make the most of, rather than strength in-depth; also a lot of their medals come from the ladies side, which maybe isn’t quite so competitive. As far as the team sprint goes, France are the team to beat; world champions and world record holders — a tough nut to crack.”

Word is that the GB ‘stealth’ bikes are set to be even more special for Beijing?

“I think so, we’re kept out of the loop; the riders who test them have to sign confidentiality agreements. It’s not just bikes, we’ll have new helmets and skinsuits; all designed to give better aerodynamics. We haven’t seen them yet, but I should think we’ll be using them at the Worlds in March.”

Final question, the London Olympics 2012 — do you hope to be there?

“Yes! I’ll be 36, so it’s not that old, as long as I’m still enjoying it and still improving — you never know, they might even bring the kilo back for then!”

VeloVeritas would like to thank Chris for taking time out of his busy schedule to talk to us, and wish him all: the best for Manchester and Beijing in 2008.

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

Related Articles

Philippa York – Talks Trans Racers and Steak Bakes

When Linda Ann, Philippa York’s ‘better half’ invited questions for Pippa on Drew Wilson’s ‘Robert Millar Appreciation Group’ on FaceBook we thought it sounded like a good opportunity to us. Aware of Pippa’s weakness for a certain bakery chain’s products there was no need to ponder over our first questions...

Sandy Gordon – Part Two: Shipyards and Scottish Championships

In Part One of our interview with Sandy Gordon, we heard about his horror crash at the 1966 Tour of Austria and missing the Jamaica Commonwealth Games, helping Brian Temple secure a silver medal at the 1970 Commonwealth Games and racing in the Tours of Scotland, Czechoslovakia - and getting banned for racing in South Africa at the Rapport Toer. We continue the chat by finding out more about Sandy's other overseas races and his many domestic successes...

John Paul – World Junior Champion

Scotland doesn't get too many World Cycling Champions-so when John Paul won the World Junior Sprint Championship, it was something special. 'Juniors?' I hear you say... The team pursuit in the Junior Worlds was won by Australia in a time of 4:02 and the man Paul beat in the sprint semis, Max Niederlag of Germany did 9.899 in qualifying. Those are seriously quick times.

Rab Wardell – Scottish Cyclo-Cross Champion 2014

Unfortunately, VeloVeritas didn’t make it to the 2014 Scottish Cyclo-Cross Championships; it took that nice big colour shot of Rab Wardell (Orange Monkey Pro Team) in ‘Sportivs and Lance DVD Sales Weekly’ (aka 'The Comic' - or Cycling Weekly) to remind us of the error of our ways. We soon had the man who’s forsaken tarmac for mud and single track on the end of the phone...

Scottish Riders in Le Tour de France

With le Grande Boucle set to depart on Saturday June 26th from Brittany – which shares Celtic culture with Scotland - we thought we should have a look at the Scottish riders who have participated in the biggest race on the planet, over the years.

Ian Steel

We learnt with sadness yesterday that Scottish rider Ian Steel had passed away, at the age of 86. Ian became national champion in 1952 and rode and won the famous Peace Race by taking the lead on stage eight of twelve as his British team won both the individual and team titles. We thought readers would appreciate revisiting out interview with Ian from a few years ago.

At Random

Steve Joughin – The Original ‘Pocket Rocket’

The ‘Pocket Rocket’ they called him; British Junior Road Champion, twice winner of the season-long Star Trophy, winner of just about every major amateur race in Britain and twice British Professional Road race Champion – the Isle of Man’s own Mr. Steve Joughin. High time we caught up with him.

James McCallum – “I hadn’t realised how cool this sport is”

We make no apology for featuring Endura Racing again - they're out there, getting on with the business of pro bike racing. The Tour of the Med, Haut Var, Murcia and now - Singapore. We caught up with former British criterium champion and reigning British omnium champion, James McCallum to get the low down on one of the richest crits around - (he was on the way to the supermarket when we spoke to him, but don't tell anyone, those glam pros aren't supposed do the 'trolley thing.')

Le Tour de France 2013 – Stage 11: Avranches > Mont-Saint-Michel, 33km ITT. Tony Martin Takes It

Tony Martin was impressive, so was Chris Froome – Cadel Evans, Pierre Rolland, Nairo Quintana, Tejay van Garderen and a whole host of others, weren’t. Bonjour, from the Balladins Motel, ville de Tours, from Martin and Ed!

Dylan Westley – Developing as a Rider and a Person with Equipo Lizarte

Stepping up from the Junior ranks to compete in the u23 category is a big deal for any young rider, but to combine it with moving to a new team as well as living away from home in a different country takes courage and a rock-solid belief in your ability - qualities talented 18-year-old Yorkshireman Dylan Westley has in spades.

Bradley Wiggins wins the British Road Championships 2011

On a balmy Sunday afternoon in quaint Stamfordham, Sky and Bradley Wiggins did 'what England expected' and grabbed the first four places in the British elite road race championship over 197 hard Northumbrian kilometres; and the skeletal Bradley Wiggins will start the Tour in the white British champion's jersey after jumping his team mates on the run in; defending champion Geraint Thomas took silver, Peter Kennaugh was third and Ian Stannard fourth.

Tour of Britain 2007 – Day 3: Stage 2, Yeovilton – Taunton

It was a good day for DFL in the Tour of Britain 2007 heading out of Yeovilton on Tuesday, as Evan explains...