Hoy calls for track 'International Series'

Team GB Olympic legend Sir Chris Hoy believes track cycling should exploit the moment, with the six-times gold medallist calling for a series of international events to be held around the United Kingdom and abroad.

Cycling - Hoy: Olympic glory price of Scottish independence

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Sir Chris Hoy celebrates after winning the keirin gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 7

Road cycling already has a high profile thanks to the UCI Pro Tour, with the Grand Tours and of course the Tour de France rivalling the Olympics in drama and popularity.

While history has a part to play in that, Hoy thinks more could be done to maximise track cycling’s potential, such as a Diamond League or Grand Slam style series of major events with big rewards for winners.

"There’s great scope for promoting track cycling better," Hoy, who won his fifth and sixth Olympic gold titles at the London Games, told Eurosport-Yahoo! while promoting the Gillette Great Starts coaching campaign, which provides funding for sports coaches in the community.

"The Olympics were a success for track cycling on a global scale, particularly in the UK because of our performance and how the public responded to the events.

"It showed that people want to watch it live, that there is an appetite for track cycling. Now is the time to exploit this moment.

"Track cycling should go further – there is definitely potential for a televised International Series to run alongside the World Cup events."

Hoy, whose thrilling Team Sprint and Keirin victories in London’s velodrome made him Britain’s most decorated Olympian of all time, thinks the enthusiasm for the sport in the UK makes it the perfect location to base such a series.

"You could do it anywhere, no more so than the UK. We have four top-class velodromes now, enthusiasm, and interest.

"I hope we use the success of the Olympics as a springboard for cycling."

Speaking of the Olympics, Hoy – who at 36 is very much the elder statesman of British cycling – has no plans to return for the Rio Games in 2016, by which point he will be 40.

But the future of British cycling is in good hands, with one man in particular the stand-out athlete for the Scot.

"There are several reasons why I won’t be there in Rio," he added. "Firstly, you can’t top London – victory in front of a home crowd is the perfect way to end your Olympic career.

"Then there is the physical question – all the training and injury eventually takes its toll on your body, and there is only so much you can take. Four more years of that, at this stage, would be very difficult.

"And finally there’s the question of selection – no-one is in the team by rights, and as you can see it is getting harder and harder to earn your place. The competition is so tough and it’s getting even harder."

That competition saw Hoy denied the chance to defend his 2008 individual sprint title, with new rules allowing for only one entry per country.

His place went to Jason Kenny, but Hoy is not remotely bitter, calling his team-mate the outstanding cyclist at the Games.

"Jason has been around for a while now, he won gold in the team sprint in 2008, but his win in the individual sprint this time was superb.

"I didn’t see any controversy at all in his selection – some people complained but I always felt they made the right call, and it was vindicated.

"It would have been the right call even if he didn’t win, as he gave us the best chance of gold. Thankfully he did!"

While Hoy’s Olympic career may be over, he will continue to compete for his country with the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games in mind.

That will see him turn out for Scotland, on home turf, in a new velodrome built in his honour – appropriately called the 'Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome'.

And Hoy had a rather diplomatic answer to whether he preferred competing for Britain or Scotland.

"I love competing for both!"

The 2012 Gillette ‘Great Starts’ campaign celebrates community coaches and inspires the next generation of coaches by providing them with grants to fund their next level qualifications. The campaign concluded at an event attended by ambassadors Sir Chris Hoy and Liam Tancock who celebrated with the successful recipients of this year’s grants. 

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