The mastermind behind Great Britain's dominate track cycling squad, Australia's Shane Sutton, says he feels for his home squad. The Australian team has suffered a disappointing track cycling campaign to date, with its failure to secure a medal to date in stark contrast to its 10 medal haul from Athens in 2004.
"I do feel for them," Sutton told The Australian. "Everyone's making a lot of this Aussie-Pom thing and the fact that I'm an Aussie coaching the Poms, but it's not like that.
"Green and gold run through my blood but, at the end of the day, I've got my job to do," added Sutton.
Sutton is the brother of New South Wales Institute of Sport coach Garry, whose son Chris competes professionally for the Garmin-Chipotle Professional Continental squad. The coach, who has reportedly been lured to the British Cycling's squad with a ?1 million deal, said that the sport is cyclical and that it's now Great Britain's turn at the top.
"The West Indies dominated cricket a long time before we did and we went on to knock them off," he said. "It's the same in rugby and it'll be the same in cycling. Australia will emerge again and become dominant. And our job basically is to keep them under wraps."
After losing his heat in the men's sprint 1/8 finals, Athens sprint champion Ryan Bayley said the difference in performance came back to funding. While the British squad has received a massive injection of lottery funds, Australia's Olympic Committee chief John Coates has warned the nation is facing a funding crisis.
"We Australians have got a lot of heart," Bayley said. "But we don't have the funding of the British.
"They have the Australian sports scientist who was ours (Grant White), they've got a German sprint coach who was one of the most tactical riders ever (Jan van Eiden)," he added. "Basically they can buy whatever they want whenever they want."
While Australia's efforts on track have failed to produce results to date, not all hope is lost. Anna Meares has bounced back from injury in strong form to make tonight's women's sprint final. Meares will go head-to-head with world champion and favourite Victoria Pendleton of Great Britain.