Olympic feature: Ross Edgar gearing up for 2012

SPORT-CYCLING'Moreton Hall Community Centre.'Ross Edgar (Olympic silver medalist) will be giving a talk to West Suffolk Wheelers about his experiences in Beijing.
SPORT-CYCLING'Moreton Hall Community Centre.'Ross Edgar (Olympic silver medalist) will be giving a talk to West Suffolk Wheelers about his experiences in Beijing.
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HAVING tasted the adrenaline rush that an Olympics produces it is clear to see why cycling star Ross Edgar is so eager to be part of the Great Britain team at the 2012 London Games.

Although a winner of numerous World Championship and Common-wealth Games medals since bursting on to the international scene, in both the sprint and keirin disciplines, Edgar’s finest moment on two wheels came back at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games when chasing home Sir Chris Hoy in the men’s keirin final.

Yet despite being a key member of the Team GB cycling squad for the best part of the past decade, the former Ousden-based rider acknowledges he still has a long way to go if he wants to get the chance to emulate his heroics of three years ago.

But, as things stand, the former Newmarket Upper School pupil feels things are certainly heading in the right direction.

“It is definitely all going to plan,” said Edgar. “I feel that I am back to the sort of level I was at before the Beijing Olympics, which is the strongest I have ever been, especially power-wise on the bike.

“Having the entire crowd behind you will be such an advantage and it will be similar to the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.

“The buzz you get from the Games adds an extra element to the whole event.”

Despite the 28-year-old feeling in an optimistic mood about being selected for the Olympic squad, his chances of not only making the team, but of adding to his silver medal, were hit last year by a decision from the International Cycling Union (ICU).

After lengthy discussions, a decision was carried out by the ICU to limit each country to being represented by one rider or one team per event at the 2012 games.

“Cycling is the only discipline to have this happen to and it’s very disappointing. We train all our life for the Olympics then we get these opportunities taken away from us,” added Edgar.

With the keirin slot almost certainly set to be handed to Sir Chris Hoy, it has left Edgar turning his attention to winning a spot in the team sprint line-up, a position he was dropped from three years ago in China.

“My starts have been going really well which is good as I am planning to go for the number one space in the team sprint,” added Edgar.

“I am really making some good times. Normally at this time of year I am out racing in Japan. But this year it has been nice to get a decent block of training in.

“Essentially, there are four riders competing for three team spots.

“Jason Kenny has shown that he can do a good stint in the number two berth but I know he will also try for the number one spot to bolster his chances. If I can produce similar times to Jason then I will be back in the picture.”

“There will be competition from a couple of up and coming youngsters who will be pushing hard for a spot to.”

Prior to next year’s Games, Edgar will lining up in Great Britain colours at the first World Cup cycling event in Kazakhstan this November, before aiming to be selected for next year’s Track Cycling World Championships in Melbourne.

“Although there is still just under a year to go it does not feel like it,” added Edgar. “Despite everyone talking about the Olympics all the preparation is gearing up towards the World Championships in Melbourne next March. If I can make the team then I would think I would have a pretty good chance of making the Olympic team.The coaches have been pleased with what I have been doing but there is still a long way to go. Over the next few months one thing you can guarantee is that I will be pushing myself even further to book that spot in the team.”