Chris Hoy praises 'incredibly experienced' British cyclists taking part in 2020 Olympics

Chris Hoy at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Chris Hoy at the London 2012 Olympic Games. (Image credit: Getty Images)

With the world tuning into the 2020 Olympic Games, there's been plenty of fascinating cycling to watch. We've already seen Great Britain take gold in BMX freestyle, with Charlotte Worthington winning the coveted medal in that event. Elsewhere in BMX racing, Team GB's Bethany Shriever also won gold, with Kye Whyte taking silver in the men's competition. Plus, Tom Piddock took a fab gold in the cross-country mountain bike.

But there's plenty more cycling to come, with the action now taking place in the velodrome, and we spoke to eleven-time world champion and six-time Olympic champion Chris Hoy about the action...

Is Team GB cycling lineup a good mix of experience and youth?

"I think I think that's a fair assessment. We've got some incredibly experienced and among the most experienced cyclists of all time in people like Laura Kenny, Jason Kenny, Ed Clancy. You know, you've got Katie Archibald and Elinor Barker as well, previous Olympic champions with experience. And there's a lot of young athletes having their first games as well. So it's definitely a mix of youth and experience."

There's been a lot of focus on what people are calling the 'First Family of cycling', Laura and Jason. Tell us a little bit about Laura?

"I think she'll be glad that she had the extra year. I don't think she was at the time, but actually, the extra year will have helped her. She had a really bad start to the year last year with a crash and she broke her collarbone prior to the World Championships. Didn't have the best World Championships in Berlin, but the extra year has given her time to get back to full fitness, full health, and I think she's in the form of her life."

Laura and Jason Kenny at Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Laura and Jason Kenny at Rio 2016 Olympic Games. (Image credit: Getty Images)

The men's Madison is back this year. And is it the first women's Madison. It’s a strange event - how do you describe it?

"It's basically a relay race over, I think, it's 40 kilometres – they keep changing the distance of it, but it's an endurance relay race. It’s a pairing in each team. And only one of you is actually racing on the track live at the front in the bunch at any time. And then when you do your maybe two or three laps, racing, then your teammate who's circling around the top of the track slowly, you'll catch them up, they'll spot you, they come down and basically grab your hand and get slung in and that changeover and they become the live racer. 

"So, it's like a relay race and the changeover part is done with a hand sling. And that transfers the energy. So you're not having to start from scratch, you get slung in up to race pace. And it's chaotic, it's really one of the events that people struggle to understand. But it's easier to watch it in, in a velodrome, in the stadium itself. It is chaotic. But it requires endurance, because it's a longer race. It requires repeated sprints, you need recovery, and it's like a points race. You're gathering points every 10 or 20 laps throughout the race. But we've got a really good chance in that with Laura and Katie. 

"In the men’s Madison I imagine it will be Ethan Hayter and Matt Walls who will ride. Equally, I would say they're not the favourites. But I think they were definitely in with a shout for a medal in the Madison. "

Ian MacEwan
Senior Writer

Ian writes about TV and film for TV Times, What’s on TV and TV & Satellite Week magazines. He co-hosts the weekly TV streaming podcast, Bingewatch.