British Cycling head coach Ian Dyer has claimed that Great Britain's dominance on the track at the 2016 Olympics has been due in part to the shortcomings of their opponents in Rio de Janeiro.
"It's a shame," Dyer said in Rio, according to the Guardian. "I can only point to the fact you can look at athletes here who are simply not at their best, not at their best of the last four years, not at their best this year."
"If you look at some of the times that have been done here, some of the teams simply haven't shown up. That's the bottom line… Some of the people here are not even performing at the level of the world championships."
Britain won six of the ten gold medals on offer in the velodrome and claimed 11 medals in total. The Netherlands placed second on the medal table, with one gold and one silver. Australia picked up just one silver and one bronze, while France failed to win any medals in the velodrome.
The British performance almost matches their haul of seven gold medals from the London Olympics, but marks a dramatic improvement on their displays in Track World Championships in recent seasons.
France's Michael D'Almeida and women's medallists Katrina Vogel (Germany) and Anna Meares (Australia) have been among the riders to draw attention to Britain's remarkable ability to peak for the Olympic Games.
The equipment at Britain's disposal was questioned by the French delegation in London in 2012, and though then performance director Dave Brailsford said at the time: "There's no secret about our wheels: they're round." Speaking on Tuesday, Dyer said that Britain had saved some of its equipment specifically for the Olympic Games.
"While we peak athletically for the Olympics, we also peak in our research and innovation for the Olympics. The helmets we are using here, for example, we used in 2012 but haven't used them since 2012 until now. The bikes obviously are new, the first time. And no end of different components and strategies are only appearing for the first time," Dyer said.
Although the British track programme is backed by generous funding from UK Sport, sprint coach Justin Grace, who worked for the French federation up until 2014, insisted to L'Equipe earlier in the week that other France had similar financial resources at its disposal. For his part, Dyer stated that Britain’s spate of emphatic victories had come about due to their pursuit of so-called "marginal gains."
"We've got a really great team of people doing a fantastic job and who will go to the ends of the earth looking for that final marginal gain. It's all about marginal gains, isn't it? That's what we have become famous for. The low-hanging fruit disappeared years ago," Dyer said. "There was a lot of talk of people catching up because they just saw the gains that we had started to make was stuff they could copy and emulate. Now the devil is in the detail. The marginal gains have never been more marginal and aggregating that together has never been more important."
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