Friday, April 04, 2008

Some thoughts on World Champs, Olympics and McGee

It's been 4 years since Brad McGee finished 8th overall in the Giro, and - hmmm - 3 years since we last saw him absolutely flying. It's hard to remember some of the details, what with the constant drug-related Tour "lowlights" of the past few years, but Brad looked to have the goods back then and was, to some at least, looking to claim his stake on the Tour lead back then. I remember he was in a break, flying up and down mountains, taking a few risks. He was putting his hand up as a contender. But he crashed instead.

But he's fixed his physical problems - a cyst behind the knee, not the back problem he thought he had - and is ready to go. And he's only 32. The slightly revamped has a good interview today: McGee may have been some way off gold in the world championships but, with his injury problems now appearing to have been resolved, with a new team and a good race programme helping to build his form and with over four months to go until Beijing, he could have a very successful Olympic campaign. All going to plan, Bradley versus Bradley fighting it out for the gold medal is a real possibility.

Which brings me to what I feel could happen in Beijing. Britain is on a high, they have peaked for their home World Champs after all - and it is very hard to maintain that level, or even to peak again in 4 months. It's certainly do-able, but it won't be the same. Not every rider who medalled in Manchester will reach the same peak - and let's face it, the riders from other countries will be peaking as well. And they may well be aiming higher.

So I'd expect to see Britain drop slightly overall but still be picking up medals aplenty. Thy may just be silver or bronze rather than gold. Which leaves the door open to the French, Dutch and Australian riders to pull out some outstanding performances. They know the gap, and they have the time. Let's see who can bridge the gap and beat the Brits in Beijing.