Rio 2016: it is the major goal of nearly all athletes. And of these seven in particular, because Rio de Janeiro is in their country. Since the mid-September, the seven Brazilian athletes and a coach are at the World Cycling Centre to prepare their qualification for the track cycling events of the next Olympic Games. The discipline is not yet one of the most popular in their country, but thanks to a three-month training camp at the WCC, the group is developing an efficient action plan.
“The Brazilians have an ambitious and realistic challenge,” is the estimation of Tim Carswell, their instructor at the World Cycling Centre. “Now is the right time to try to qualify. According to the UCI rules the athletes need to collect good results at the UCI World Cup events, Pan-American Championships and UCI World Championships. There are the first steps to Rio 2016 and we are making a plan all together to match them.”
As well as devising a step by step plan, with some essential dates on the calendar between now and the Games, the WCC is helping the athletes improve their physical level and technical skills.
They proved their speed at a UCI event at the beginning of October, the Trois Jours d’Aigle, taking the first three places in the Men’s keirin (Flavio Cipriano, Kacio Fonseca, Dieferson Borges) and second place in the sprint (Cipriano was beaten by another WCC trainee, Ireland’s Eoin Mullen).
The Brazilian athletes (1) are particularly pleased to be in Aigle as they have little experience riding on the track. Cipriano, aged 26, the country’s best sprinter, lives in the south-east, in Taubaté (State of Saõ Paulo), some 800 kilometres from the nearest velodrome. Much of the riders’ training therefore takes place on the road between two marks drawn on the tarmac to recreate the conventional distances of a track.
“At the end of December I will move near to a velodrome,” he explains. “It is high time that I do all I can to get ready for the Games. My experience at the World Cycling Centre is part of this process. For example, I am learning how to warm up correctly and effectively.”
Cipriano and his fellow Brazilian athletes are optimistic about the future of cycling in their country.
Their coach Emerson da Silva chose the group very carefully. “We have three women and four men,” he explains. “Each of them comes from a different region in Brazil in order to reflect the country’s diversity. Although Flavio Cipriano is our best athlete at the moment, we don’t want to rely only on him, because if he gave up cycling for one reason or another, all our work would stop with him. We are concentrating on a group of young athletes, aged between 18 and 20. They represent the future and our Olympic hopes.”
(1) The athletes training at the World Cycling Centre are: Emerson Da Silva, Dieferson Borges, Flavio Cipriano, Wellyda Dos Santos, Kacio Fonseca, Gabriela Nishi, Davi Pontarolli and Hyriah Tiemann.