‘If you want to keep sniping, then give me a call’ – British Cycling chief challenges critics after Tokyo success – AFP. Cycling’s performance director Stephen Park challenged his critics to “come and have a go” if they thought they could do any better as his team ended the Tokyo Games on a high.
gold medal in the keirin lifted the number of numberawardsdals won by Britain’s cyclists across all disciplines at these Games to 12. That equals the number won at London 2012 and Rio 2016, just two at Beijing 2008.
It also defied some somewhat gloomy predictions in the build-up to Tokyo 2020 that Britain’s cyclists would struggle to get anywhere near the success of the. The reasons for the pessimism were many and varied. British Cycling has had a traumatic few years since the departure of technical director in 2016 amid sexism and bullying allegations.
At the time, an independent review of the organization found a “bullying culture” and made several recommendations, which necessitated a root-and-branch cultural overhaul.
Park, who ran the RYA’s’ Olympicprogramprogramme, was brought in to oversee that e reform,s but his style has not been to everyone’s liking. Some dismiss him as a “sailor” who knows nothing about Cycling.
Some high-profile departures under Park’s watch, includingcoach Kevin Stewart, who left late last year with Tokyo Insight.
Various coaches have also left to work with rival squads. Mehdi Kordi now coaches the mighty Dutch sprinters, whosprint in Izu.
Dan Bigham, the former F1 aerodynamicist and rider, went to work withafter being jettisoned by British Cycling. Bigham has been openly critical of British philosophy and approach.
All in all, it was difficult to escape the impression that there was some knife-sharpening in the background. But five medals in the mountain bike and the BMX were a vindication of the decision to diversify the medal strategy and gave the . And seven more medals in the velodrome ensured target of eight awards and then some.
“The question was whether we could maintainstatus. For those listening three years ago, I was saying the dominance of the track would not be the same because of the movement in equipment. That’s proven to be the case.
“The question then was whether we could stillour very best athletes to come forward and perform under pressure. It’s’ a relief and pleasing that it’s happened not just on the track but across other disciplines.
“To be able to come here and equal the number of medals and gold medals from Rio – which was an incredible performance – to be able to leave is the only country in history that’s won a gold medal in every Olympic discipline, with Jason and Laura being the kings and queens of sport, let alone Cycling, and to have a team of young riders coming through, bodes well for Paris , for LA . “It’s’ fantastic, but it’s’ also a tribute to all the work done by the support staff and all those back home.”
Park said he did not know whether the “sniping” would stop after GB’s’ results in Japan. “No idea, I doubt it,” he said. But he insisted that the spirit in the camp was good, adding that he intended to make sure everyone enjoyed their final night.
“I’ve always felt that in 2016, although I was looking on from the outside, the riders never got the recognition they deserved. I’m pretty determined to make sure we do have that this .
“And frankly, there is a bit of… if you want to keep shouting or sniping, then feel free to call me. “I’ll make sure there’s a bike available if you think you’re good enough. Just rock up and come and have a go because there’s not one of these people who would have beaten the riders on track here. Not one of them. Not even close. But if they think they can then give me a call.”