British Cycling has announced the riders that will lead it at August's Olympic Games in Beijing, China. The nation's roster is one of the strongest ever seen, placing the Britons as the team to beat in many cycling events, primarily on the track.
"The Great Britain Cycling team has continued to develop to such a point where it is clearly both the strongest and most professional Cycling team from Great Britain in living memory," said British Cycling Performance Director Dave Brailsford. "The very tough selection decisions which had to be made are a testament to the strength and depth of talent within our programme. In keeping with the overall philosophy of the Great Britain Cycling team this squad will leave no stone unturned in its quest for success."
The British track squad includes the likes of Victoria Pendleton, Mark Cavendish, Chris Hoy and Bradley Wiggins. The riders formed the backbone of Great Britain's squad dominated the most recent UCI Track World Championships held on their home turf in Manchester.
"I'm delighted to be named in the squad for the Beijing Olympics, particularly given the very high standard of competition for places," said Hoy. "I'm looking forward to getting out there and showing how good British cycling is and to having a successful Games."
"I'm really pleased to be selected," added Pendleton. "It's an honour to be selected especially in such a strong squad. I'm looking forward to going to Beijing and building on my form from the Worlds in Manchester earlier this year."
The road squad will be led by top British road cyclists Roger Hammond and Steve Cummings in the men's road race, with Cummings the nation's only individual time trial rider for Beijing. Experienced road racer Nicole Cooke will lead the women's road squad with the young up and coming rider Emma Pooley also on the squad.
"I am delighted with the selections and convinced that this team will bring home the best ever set of results," said British Cycling President Brian Cookson. "Nothing can ever be guaranteed in elite sport, but British cycling fans can look forward to Beijing with confidence - there is no doubt that this is the best British Olympic cycling team of the modern era."
Shanaze Reade has opted to focus on BMX's debut at the Olympic Games, while British Cycling is yet to announce its men's BMX nomination. Oliver Beckingsale and Liam Killeen will represent the nation in the mountain biking events.
"It's great to be selected, and a relief," said Beckingsale. "This will be my third Olympic Games and I believe it will be my best by a long way. In the last few years I've been riding better than ever and I believe I will produce a personal best performance at these Games."
BMX: Shanaze Reade (Women's BMX) and Men's BMX - (One rider to be announced)
Mountain Bike: Oliver Beckingsale and Liam Killeen
Road: Jonny Bellis (Men's Road Race), Steve Cummings (Men's Road Race & Individual Time Trial), Roger Hammond (Men's Road Race), Ben Swift (Men's Road Race), Nicole Cooke (Women's Road Race), Sharon Laws (Women's Road Race) and Emma Pooley (Women's Road Race).
Track: Steven Burke (Team Pursuit), Mark Cavendish (Madison), Edward Clancy (Team Pursuit), Ross Edgar (Team Sprint and Keirin), Chris Hoy (Sprint, Team Sprint and Keirin), Jason Kenny (Sprint and Team Sprint), Paul Manning (Team Pursuit), Chris Newton (Points Race), Victoria Pendleton (Sprint), Rebecca Romero (Women's Pursuit and Points Race), Jamie Staff (Team Sprint), Geraint Thomas (Team Pursuit), Bradley Wiggins (Individual Pursuit, Team Pursuit and Madison) and Wendy Houvenaghel (Women's Individual Pursuit).