The British Cycling team leaves Rio with six gold medals, four silvers, and one bronze to their name, blitzing the opposition to win more events than every other country combined.
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But their success has not come without a number of doubters, who have suggested that GB’s success is somewhat alarming.

‘Scratching our heads’

Australia's Olympic team captain Anna Meares: "The British are just phenomenal when it comes to the Olympic Games, and we're all just scratching our heads going 'how do they lift so much when in so many events they have not even been in contention in the world championships?'."
Meares has since played down her comments on Twitter:

Rebecca James (GBR) of Britain with the silver medal, Elis Ligtlee (NED) of Netherlands with the gold medal, Anna Meares (AUS) of Australia with the bronze medal

Image credit: Reuters

French cyclist and bronze medallist Michaël D'Almeida: "We are human beings like them, we are made of the same stuff, we have a bike like they do, so why are they better?
"I'm not in their camp, in their country, I don't know how it works, I don't know what goes on. I have my ideas about certain things but I'm going to shut up because I don't think it's good to speak in the heat of the moment."

Cannon fodder

German world champion Kristina Vogel has called GB’s success “very questionable”, following their poor showing at the 2015 World Championships.
“They were cannon fodder when you look at the last few years,” said Vogel, reports The Sydney Morning Herald. “Now they come along with a [high] level. I don’t want to accuse anyone of anything but it is all very questionable.”

Germany's Kristina Vogel (L) competes against Britain's Rebecca James

Image credit: AFP

World Championships breakdown

So were GB “cannon fodder” in recent World Championships?
A look at the 2015 UCI Track Cycling World Championships shows just three silvers to GB’s name, but British Cycling were aware that this was not on the agenda.

Trott won silver in 2015 behind Australia's Edmondson

Image credit: Reuters

Then technical director Shane Sutton, who resigned ahead of the Rio Olympics amid allegations of sexism, admitted the team needed an iconic leader to take them forward to the 2016 world champs in London before the Rio Games.
“Going into Rio we’d like to think we’ll be walking into the track centre with the likes of Brad Wiggins and Jason Kenny stepping up to the plate and people looking up and taking notice again,” Sutton was quoted saying in The Guardian.

Sir Bradley Wiggins waves after Team GB won the team pursuit

Image credit: Reuters

And step up to the plate they did

A poor 2015 world champs was followed by a successful 2016 outing in London. GB topped the medal table with five golds, with Germany second on three.
It is clear that Vogel’s claims are far-fetched, as she was picking out an anomaly. GB’s inability to claim a single gold in 2015 was the first year that had happened since 2001.
Britain have regularly topped the medal table since, with Germany and Australia the other usual suspects.

British rebuttal

British Cycling head coach Iain Dyer highlighted their success in the worlds as he was forced into defending the success of his team at the Olympic Velodrome.

Iain Dyer with Chris Hoy in 2012

Image credit: Reuters

"It's a shame. I can only point to the fact you can look at athletes here who are simply not at their best," he said.
"We've won 12 world titles since London 2012. If that makes us cannon fodder coming into the Olympics then so be it."
In this year’s Games, Australia walked away with zero track cycling golds, with Germany picking up just one.
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