Tokyo Olympics: Meet ex-British cycling allies making plans to end Team GB’s dominance on the velodrome
‘It’s not personal, but there can only be one winner’: Meet the ex-British cycling allies – and former rider and coach – who are making plans to end Team GB’s ‘medal factory’ velodrome dominance in Tokyo with the Netherlands and Denmark
You have to go back to Athens 2004 for the last time Team GB didn’t win the men’s team sprint at an Olympics.
The event was one of the foundations of Britain’s track cycling success, with legends like Sir Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny leading the way.
On Tuesday, however, Kenny, Jack Carlin and Ryan Owens face their biggest battle to retain gold. To make matters worse, one of Britain’s top cyclists is plotting their downfall.
Team GB’s Chase Drivers are aiming for a fourth consecutive Olympic gold at the event
Former GB track rider Dan Bigham is now working with Denmark to stop the British
“It’s not personal but I want my team to win and there can only be one winner,” said former British cycling coach Mehdi Kordi. Sports post.
The 36-year-old is now teaming up with the Netherlands, Team GB’s biggest rivals, who have won the last three World Championships.
“I enjoy a friendship with many of the British riders,” said Kordi, who still lives in Manchester. “I worked with Ryan and Jack when they were at the academy. Ryan was at my wife’s baby shower!
Bigham’s Danish riders pose a major threat to Britain after breaking their Olympic record
The Dutch team sprint female riders just fell short of the bronze medal decider in Izu
“People think you’re there to crush them, show them what they’re missing, but there’s no animosity. I want to see them do it right. But it’s not a test where you get a percentage and everyone is happy. We’re after one thing.’
Born in Loughborough to Iranian parents, Kordi started out as a rower. After a short time as an accountant, he did a Masters in physiology and applied as a PhD researcher for the English Institute of Sport, at the National Cycling Center in Manchester.
He also started volunteering for Team KGF – an independent cycling team that took part in World Cup events and has turned into Huub Wattbike.
A young squad of Ethan Hayter, Ethan Vernon, Ollie Wood and veteran Ed Clancy ride for GB
Kordi gave up the role after British Cycling deemed it a conflict of interest. By then, however, his innovative ideas had caught the attention of other countries, including the Dutch, whom he joined in 2019.
‘I do analysis and tactics,’ explains Kordi. ‘I came in with fresh ideas, using the knowledge I gained from KGF and my PhD; things I’ve always wanted to try, but never had the chance.’
The Team GB trio won silver behind the Dutch at the World Championship last year and will be even more competitive in Japan with their new bike and skinsuits.
Team GB has a huge budget for their track setup and is coming to the Games with a radical bike
Jason Kenny will ride in GB’s sprint trio on Tuesday with the aim of becoming Britain’s greatest Olympian
“They have weapon-grade technology that they can roll out,” Kordi adds. “It will be much better than what we have and their budget is about six times bigger.
“They’ve been to the Olympics before and said they’re not going to win and win, so I don’t count my chickens.
‘We are against it. But we have to be creative and I like that.’