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British Cycling unhappy with Olympic selection reforms

GB team on the last lap of the team pursuit at the London 2016 World Track Championships
Josh Cunningham
23 Mar 2016

Possible plans for Team GB to adopt US-style selection trials have been met with apprehension from British Cycling head.

The British Olympic Association (BOC) have said that it is in the very early stages of talks concerning a possible change in the way that British athletes are selected to go to the Olympics. 

There has been a suggestion of a US-style trial system, whereby team mates are effectively pitted against each other in a domestic competition, with those gaining the highest placings being rewarded with an Olympic spot, regardless of their - or their opponent's - prior performances in major championships. 

'There is a shared belief that Olympic trials events, such as those seen in the US, have the potential to be successful in the UK, helping to sustain the profile and public interest in Olympic sport,' read a joint statement from the BOA and UK Sport. 

The ferederations for athletics and swimming, who already hold similar, but not quite so devisive, pre-Olympic trials, have shown an initial interest. But British Cycling's CEO Ian Drake is not so enthused. In an interview on the BBC website , Drake said that 'a trials format wouldn't work for cycling.'

'A key part of the success British Cycling has achieved over the last four Olympic cycles has been the way our performance staff have prepared and selected riders,' he explained. 'So we know holding trials means potentially asking our team to peak numerous times within a short space of time - to qualify places, for the trials and then for the Olympics - and puts medal-winning performances at risk.'

Based on his 6th place in the omnium at the recent World Championships, there is potential that Mark Cavendish would have already lost his desired Olympic spot under the proposed system. But the rules haven't changed yet, and Bradley Wiggins has said that he still expects the Manxman to be on the plane to rio

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