10:37am Tuesday 7th August 2012
British Cycling performance director Dave Brailsford paid tribute to Victoria Pendleton ahead of her Olympics swansong in the velodrome tonight.
Pendleton bids to sign off with a second gold medal of London 2012 in the women's sprint that would make her Britain's most successful female Olympian with three gold medals.
Sir Chris Hoy also goes for gold tonight in the men's keirin knowing victory would see him climb above Sir Steve Redgrave as Britain's most successful Olympian with six gold medals.
"We're phenomenally proud of them," Brailsford told BBC Breakfast. "They've been the backbone of British track cycling for a long time.
"This could be the very last competition for Vicky so it's quite a sad day for us in that respect.
"I do think she deserves special mention. She has worked so hard in the last three years to bring herself up to this level of competition."
Brailsford is understandably pleased with Britain's medal haul going into the final day of track cycling competition, with five track golds and one bronze already in the bag.
"It's been great so far. We've three medals available today and we're ready for them. I hope by the end of today we might have three more."
Laura Trott is the third British rider eyeing a gold medal tonight as she completes the omnium, and Brailsford also singled her out for praise.
"Laura is a bundle of energy. She's got this contagious enthusiasm. She's a brilliant bike rider and it would be great if she can finish off the job today."
Britain's success has had their French rivals scratching their heads.
"They came up with the conclusion that we have special wheels," said Brailsford, who believes good coaching has been a crucial factor in delivering medals.
"Essentially you have to have great riders with talent and commitment. You need both of those. But fundamentally it's all about coaching and very good coaching.
"I'm more of an orchestra conductor. The key is to have great coaches and we have brilliant coaches.
"We have a small group led by Chris Boardman who look for the latest innovations in other industries and apply them to cycling.
"You start by analysing the event that you want to win and then you give yourself priorities because you can't win everything.
"We look at the gap between where we are and where we have to be to win and then we create a plan and execute it.
"If you break down everything that you need and improve every little aspect by 1% then that can make a difference. Some things are essential - fitness, biomechanics, etc - others are less essential but can make the difference such as posture when you sleep, using the right kind of pillow. Hygiene is extremely important because you are going to get ill a little bit less. If you put all these little things together you are going to improve."
Looking beyond London 2012, Brailsford's enthusiasm and drive are as strong as ever.
He added: "We've got Rio (2016) coming up, we want to win the Tour again and we just want to keep cycling booming, getting more people on their bikes, getting participation up.
"There has never been a better opportunity. There is something to be done to make that real link between inspiration and participation."
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