Talking Shop: David Daniell Back in Form

EXCLUSIVE: Middlesbrough’s David Daniell is back on track to challenge for a spot in the GB team competing in the 2012 Olympics

David Daniell (Silver) joins four time Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy (Gold) and Olympic Gold and Silver medallist from Beijing, Jason Kenny (Bronze), on the podium in the blue ribbon Sprint event.

In 2010, the papers were touting David Daniell as the new Chris Hoy. A gold in the Manchester World Cup for 2008 and then a Silver and new PB in the Kilometre had the press bigging him up and rightly so. For a rider fresh out of the Junior ranks, a 1.01 for the Kilometre in two different World Cups is worth a big shout.

The last 12 months have not been easy for the Middlesbrough rider however so his three medals at the British Track Cycling Championships in Manchester last week were in his words, “awesome”.

“It is a huge stepping stone for me this week” he told VeloUK in an exclusive interview. “I came into this feeling a bit unsure about myself and these results have given me a lot of motivation and confidence for me to stick with it.”

“I came into the championships not having really achieved a lot in the last year but I have given 100 per cent in training and nothing has really came off for me until now. This is the cherry on top of the cake really.”

“To finish second to Chris is awesome, I’m really pleased with the results, over the moon with my performances and hopefully I can build on them in training as we come into 2012. I didn’t expect to get so close to Chris in the first ride (Sprint final). Chris is really fast and can back up races really well so it was good to show I can get close to him and that it can be done.”

“It is just such a big confidence boost to do that on the same bike and wheels as he’s on and in front of a crowd. With more training, hopefully I can get closer again.”

50 metres out and David Daniell is leading the men’s keirin but by the finish line Sir Chris Hoy (left) has passed David to win the first of three Gold at the British Champs.

Harking back to the early days and his speedy rise into the top echelon of World Sprinting, he says “when I first moved up to senior, I found the training that worked for me and everything went to plan. Suddenly I found myself riding really fast and competing with the top guys.”

“Then the training stopped working for me and I had to change my training and that didn’t work, and I changed it again and that didn’t work and my form wasn’t coming. I sat down with the coaches and the gym coach and got a really solid programme together aimed at the nationals and it’s paid off.”

“To have found the training that works for me, I’m over the moon. I’m so happy with the form.”

Giving an insight into the period this year where his training hasn’t been working for him, he says “we’re under a magnifying glass every week and it’s all about times and performances and it can be most frustrating when you give 100 per cent and nothing comes out of it. You starting questioning everything and doubting yourself.”

“Great Britain have top quality coaches however who have kept me interested and kept me driving through each training programme and I am so happy that it’s all starting to pay off now.”

The Great Britain team have also introduced a new element to the Sprint training; race days! For a while now, Jan van Eijden has got onto the track and ‘competed’ with Victoria Pendleton but now the men to get the chance to try out tactics on the Manchester boards as David explained.

The next drag race was the Sprint and David went all out to beat the triple Olympic champion from Beijing but couldn’t quite beat the Scottish legend.

“I started off really struggling in those and I just didn’t have the form. I was struggling to back up races but they are not all just about having the fitness but also learning the tactics, how to race and what to do in different scenarios. We don’t get to practice outside of training in races so it’s a good work out and we’re racing against top quality world class athletes. It’s a learning experience which is brilliant”.

At the British Track Championships, David got to test those tactics against riders who have finished on the podium at the Olympics, Jason Kenny and Sir Chris Hoy. It took three rides in the sprint to beat Jason but he managed it and then went and pushed Chris Hoy all the way in the final for Gold.

Now, many may feel on a track that a sprinter will choose a gear and stick with it but not so. David was spotted during the sprint, leisurely changing his gears. Asked why, he replied “as the sprint is getting faster I need to change my gears.”

“We were here at half seven in the morning and have been racing all day, on and off the rollers and the legs do get really tired so we try to compensate through the gear size and take a bit of pressure off our legs with the cadence.”

“And when you’re coming up against faster opponents, you want that little bit bigger gear to get close and give yourself the opportunity of hopefully beating them as well”.

It’s fingers crossed for David Daniell as he looks to force his way into the Olympic team for London.

Finally, we talked 2012 Olympics. For some athletes in GB such as Chris Hoy, London may be their last Olympics but for a young athlete with lots of years in them such as David, perhaps there was an element of it not being the be all and end all as it may for a more senior athlete.

Not so says David. “I wouldn’t say it is more important for the older guys because it’s the Olympics in your home country and I don’t think it will happen again while I’m racing. So, to be able to go there and represent the country in front of your home country will be amazing.”

“I am sure it is everyone’s dream and just as much as Chris wants it, I want it too and I’d love to be there. It won’t be the end because I’ll have a career afterwards but right now, it’s the top of the mountain I have to climb. After it, I’ll find a new hill for 2016”.

And the event he’s going for in London 2012? “My main event is the Team Sprint” he replied. “I think that is where the door will be open for the Olympics for me and the others. I am concentrating on going for Man 3 in that and getting a good solid lap in for the Nationals and then afterwards, we’ll assess it and see how I can improve it.”

Team Sprint is where its at for David Daniell working hard to be part of London 2012.

Thanks to David for the chat …

Tags: , , , ,