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Richard Moore:

A good Ed start

Fit-again Edgar is looking to snare London 2012 berth, says Richard

Richard Moore Posted 2nd February 2012 view comments

A year ago Ross Edgar came to the conclusion that his only realistic chance of going to the London Olympics was as man one - the starter - in the team sprint.

Since then, everything he's done, in the gym and on the bike, has been to make him better at exploding from the start gate and faster over a single lap of the velodrome.

The team sprint isn't his favourite event, that's the keirin. But there's a large, apparently immovable object standing between him and a place in the keirin - Sir Chris Hoy.

Rewarded

Edgar needed to be pragmatic if he wanted to compete in his second Olympics, and this week the 29-year old has been rewarded with selection for the London World Cup.

Edgar: over his injuries and gunning for Olympic recognition

Edgar: over his injuries and gunning for Olympic recognition

The team sprint has become something of a problem event for Great Britain, the reigning Olympic champions. The retirement of Jamie Staff, the fastest starter in the world, left a hole they have struggled to fill.

The sense of frustration is exacerbated by popular consensus that Jason Kenny is the best second-lap rider in the world, and Hoy the best over the final lap. All they are missing is a world class man one

The team sprint has become something of a problem event for Britain, the reigning Olympic champions. The retirement of Jamie Staff, the fastest starter in the world, left a hole they have struggled to fill.

Richard Moore
Quotes of the week

But it is a problem that represents an opportunity for Edgar, who has in the past managed to squeeze glory from apparent disaster.

In Beijing he was devastated to be omitted from the team sprint squad - losing his man-two slot to Kenny on the eve of the Games - only to respond impressively with a silver medal in the keirin, behind Hoy.

One problem with the training required for the man one position is that it is highly specialised and hugely demanding. It was one reason for Staff choosing to retire when he did - his body had taken enough of a battering.

Edgar now knows how he felt, having only recently returned to full training after a catalogue of injuries sustained at his winter training camp in Perth: a muscle tear and "bulging disc" in his back, and a strained hamstring.

Protested

All this was caused, he reckons, by the weight training. He was squatting 160kg, over double his body weight (he's 72kg). No wonder his body protested. But he has recovered, has two full weeks' training behind him, feels fit, and describes his selection for the team to compete in the first event to be held in the new London velodrome as "a great boost."

As Edgar says: "When you train for months and months, and you're so focused on what you're doing, it would be tough to miss out on this World Cup. There are only two races before the Olympics, this and the world championships [in Melbourne in March], so it's encouraging that I'm in the team for this."

The pressure is on, however. It is likely that the World Championship team will be selected after the World Cup, and equally unlikely that it will change between Melbourne and the Olympics. So in London, in two weeks, Edgar has to deliver.

"I know it was the right decision to focus on man one," says Edgar. "It's my best chance of going to the Olympics. But I haven't stamped my name on that position and I need to do a decent ride in London; it would be good to do a 17.5 [seconds] or something and take a bit of pressure off."

Waiting in the wings is Matt Crampton, the fourth member of the sprint squad. They all get on, says Edgar, but only three will go to the Olympics, and he acknowledges: "It's going to be a fight all the way to the Olympics."

Twitter.com/richardmoore73

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