Olympics: Skinner looks at big picture after keirin blow
HIS maiden Olympic Games may have ended with disappointment but, after a gold and silver in Rio, there was nothing but pride for Edinburgh cyclist Callum Skinner.
The 23-year-old continued a busy program on the track when he took to the start line in the men’s keirin on Tuesday.
In the first round, he was caught napping at the back and, finding himself out of the running, opted to ease up down the final straight, knowing another chance lay in the repechage.
With only the winner progressing, Skinner then appeared to have redeemed himself when he crossed the line first but elation turned to despair when he was relegated for entering the sprint lane when a rider was already there.
It meant game over for Skinner in Rio but with a number of excellent performances having gone before, including claiming the team sprint title, he was able to take a broader look.
“It’s been incredible out here. It’s blown our expectations out of the water,” he said. “It started off really strongly and I was amazed with how we did in the team sprint.
“The first race in the keirin was a bit of a disappointment. I took a while to get going. I wasn’t feeling my best but I gave it a good go. I didn’t have the legs in the first one but by the second one I had woken up a bit.
“It just so happened I pulled a bit of a dodgy manoeuvre and that’s what got me relegated in the end.”
Since winning time trial European gold in 2014, Skinner had, until Rio, failed to stand atop the podium at a major championship.
A fifth-place finish in the team sprint and a quarter-final appearance in the individual event at March’s World Championships was hardly a big confidence-booster either.
But, in the role previously occupied by Sir Chris Hoy, Skinner came good in Rio, more than playing his part alongside Jason Kenny and Philip Hindes in helping Britain retain the team sprint title they won in London.
“For myself personally, I had a disappointing and hard World Championships the last few years,” he explained.
“In Rio, it’s been a real pressure to not only fill Chris Hoy’s shoes but also keep up with the best man one and best man two in the world.
“That’s my proudest achievement above all my medals – that I’ve managed to get on and do a man three lap which is just as good as the man one and man two which Jason and Phil can pull out.”
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