Staff firing on all cylinders ahead of World Championships

Former world BMX and track cycling world champion Jamie Staff (GB) is on excellent form ahead of the UCI World Track Cycling Championships in Manchester – 26th to 30th March.

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The track sprinter from Ashford in Kent has come along way since he won the BMX world title in 1996 but the 34-year-old believes he is producing some of his best form ever on the track this season.

“I didn’t know how to train in my early years,” explained Staff: “There wasn’t a BMX coach years ago so you had to educate yourself and that took years of experimentation. It was very much trial and error. It is a little frustrating in some way that I was probably 28-years-old before I had a really structured training programme. My results have been a lot more consistent since then.”

“This year is probably one of the most structured years I have had,” continued Staff: “I have been super dedicated. That young talent is creeping through and I am trying to keep the lid shut until after the Olympics in Beijing.”

Staff has helped the GB team to win two gold medals in the three-man team sprint event in Copenhagen in 2002 and Los Angeles in 2005. He won bronze in the team sprint in Palma at last year’s championships but only thousandths of a second separated the Kent man from winning another rainbow jersey. Staff has also won gold in the tough Keirin event in Melbourne in 2004.

Staff is under no illusions that it will be tough to get a place in a British spot for the team sprint. Young British sprinter Jason Kenny will be just 20-years-old when the Manchester World Championships start in March but the multiple European and World Championships junior gold medallist raised more eyebrows when he recorded 10.1 seconds in sprint competition last month. He is one of seven sprinters in contention for team places in the explosive team sprint event.

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“Jason is a great young kid and super talented,” said Staff: “He has got a really bright future. We have good strength in depth in the team now.”

“I would like to ride in the Kilo time trial in Manchester but there has been no decision yet. I expect to be in the team sprint in the Copenhagen World Cup in February and I hope that puts me in the driving seat for a team spot in Manchester. I am feeling confident because I am still doing personal bests at the age of 34 at the gym and on the track so from that I have got to remain pretty positive.”

Staff has been impressed with the Dutch team sprinters this season: “The Dutch team pulled something out of the bag at the World Cup in Beijing,” said Staff: “I didn’t expect them to win. They didn’t have a particularly fast first man but third man Theun Mulder has definitely improved a lot. They have lost races on the last man when they had been winning after two laps. The French and Australians are up there too. Both countries have got trade teams too and there are a lot of riders gaining experience in those camps and we won’t really know which riders are going to be picked until we get to Manchester. If everything goes to plan I think Britain can win the gold medal.”

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