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I'm looking forward to meeting up with Chris Boardman again, who will be alongside me for all the cycling events in China.

When Chris won his Olympic Gold medal in Barcelona in 1992, it was Britain's first cycling gold since the tandem event at the Antwerp Games of 1920! (When Brits Harry Ryan and Thomas Lance finished the 2,000m course ahead of a South African duo).

A young Chris Boardman celebrates Olympic gold in 1992


How things have changed, with all the hope, hype and expectation surrounding the team this time round after their nine Track Cycling World Championship golds in March.

Chris's role was, and still is, key to the development of the sport in the UK and he also inadvertently helped me to establish full coverage of the Tour de France on BBC Radio.

Without his presence on the line in Lille in 1994, I doubt whether BBC bosses would have agreed to send an eager young reporter around France for three weeks.

He won that day - and the coverage was up and running.

Boardman really helped to raise the profile of the sport and he had an excellent working relationship with his coach Peter Keen.

They were a great pairing and Keen was able to transfer his success with Chris to a bigger group when he set up the World Class Performance Plan in 1997.

His vision changed the face of British cycling and when he left to take up a post with UK Sport, a template for success had been laid.

The current team manager Dave Brailsford has refined and added to the early work, leading to unprecedented levels of success.

But I think the new ideas and obviously the victories of Boardman and Keen were crucial in leading to change.

In case you are wondering, Boardman is still involved with the squad. He has a Senior Management position with British Cycling and and is Head of Technical Development, which I imagine he loves.

As you can tell if you read Chris Hoy's latest blog, all seems well inside the camp as the riders prepare to start tapering off their training down in Newport.

The same thing happens to us commentators you know, my prep's tapering off about now!

The bulk of the hard work has been done, the notes are printed up and all that's left is some bag-packing and a last couple of days with the family before the latest adventure begins.

I believe this one has the potential to be rather special.

Simon Brotherton is a commentator for BBC Radio 5 Live, concentrating on the cycling in Beijing. Our FAQs should answer any questions you have.


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