Sir Chris Hoy admitted to BBC Sport he had found his desire to win lacking as he took sprint bronze at the World Track Cycling in Melbourne.
Hoy is battling Jason Kenny, who won silver, for selection in the Olympic sprint at London 2012. This was the final selection race before the Games.
"I'm maybe not quite as up for it as I was in London [at February's Track World Cup]," said Hoy.
"That seems crazy when it's a World Championships but it hasn't happened."
France's Gregory Bauge eventually won the world title but, for Hoy and Kenny, the priority is securing that Olympic berth.
Rule changes since Beijing 2008, where Hoy won gold and Kenny silver, mean only one can be chosen in the event at London 2012 rather than both.
"We'll have to wait and see," said Hoy, 36, when asked if finishing below the 24-year-old Kenny on the podium would decide Olympic selection.
"We've had five selection events this year, and that was the final and most important one. I've won three of those five and I missed one through illness.
"It's hard to put your finger on it when you're not 100% - what's the reason? Was it psychological, was it physical? You only have to be a fraction off your best and it shows.
"If Jason gets it, he thoroughly deserves it, he rode really well tonight and even in that final ride there, although Bauge won the gold medal, Jason gave him something to think about. Whoever gets the sprint position for GB will do a really good job, I'm sure."
Kenny said: "Every race has been important, we've both shown we can still race at a good level and there's nothing between us. What will be, will be.
"I definitely feel I've put a good showing in here today but it's out of my hands."
Kenny, comfortably beaten by Bauge in the first of their best-of-three heats in the final, deployed the unusual tactic of hitting top speed from the very start of the next heat. He eventually beat a spent Bauge to the line only to be relegated by officials for crossing out of his lane, handing the title to the Frenchman.
"I can't really argue with the decision," said Kenny. "It went perfectly to plan other than getting relegated. After a ride like that it would have been 50-50 [had it gone to a deciding heat], he was cream-crackered lying on the floor and I wasn't much better myself. Inside, I was on fire."