Sir Chris Hoy remains optimistic despite the team sprint travails of Great Britain’s men continuing on the opening day of the Track World Championships at the Hisense Arena in Melbourne.
Britain, the Olympic champions, travelled in search of a first world title in the three-man, three-lap event since 2005, but were disqualified after initially qualifying in fourth.
The takeover between Philip Hindes – the 19-year-old specialist starter drafted in for his World Championships debut – and second man Jason Kenny was deemed illegal and Britain were one of four of the 17 teams to be relegated.
Defending champions Germany, who had qualified second behind France, also fell foul of the officials. Australia were the team to benefit from Germany’s demotion and claimed the hosts’ only gold of the opening night’s racing, beating France in the final by 0.001 seconds.
Hoy, though, believes Britain have potential and Hindes, born in Germany to a British father, could be a solution to the man one position – a problem since the retirement of Olympic champion Jamie Staff.
“Things happen and I want to give Phil a pat on the back, rather than make him the villain in this situation,” said Hoy. “It was a very easy mistake to make. I still think he did an amazing ride and we should be pleased with his progression.
“His best was 17.9 (seconds) coming into the season. In the last few months he’s already knocked four tenths of a second off that.
“He’s only 19. You can make improvements week on week, almost – he has the potential to keep improving all the way up to London.
“It could be he is the star of the team sprint in a couple of months’ time.”
Hindes had already had to demonstrate his composure after the starting gate failed to support his bike, meaning he had to make the officials aware and restart before his strong ride resulted in disqualification after he moved aside for Kenny too soon. Four-times Olympic champion Hoy, with 10 world titles to his name, had a consolatory word for Hindes.
The 36-year-old from Edinburgh added: “We’ve all made mistakes – it’s just a shame it’s his first experience of the big occasion.”