Elder statesman Burke backs young stars after bronze medal at the Euros
He is the elder statesman in a team pursuit squad in its infancy but Steven Burke believes his young stars have shown their mettle after battling to European bronze in Glasgow.
A disappointing qualifier ensured a tough second day was in store at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, with Colne’s Burke lining up alongside Ethan Hayter, 19, Kian Emadi, 26, and 21-year-old Charlie Tanfield.
But the track cycling quartet fought back, despite losing to Italy in the first round, overcoming Germany by nearly three seconds after stopping the clock in 3:57.463.
At 30, the double Olympic champion knows his role in the squad is one of guidance but with his teammates all donning world champion’s jerseys, the youngsters are far from on the wrong track.
“The squad is a mixture of youth and experience,” he said.
“Ethan has just come up from the academy but we’ve still got a lot of stuff to improve on technically.
“We’ve definitely got the characteristics to go and do some big things, it’s looking promising.
“I’m the oldest now, so I’ll just try and use the experience I’ve gained over the years to help the younger guys out. They’re not doing too badly at the minute anyway.
“We’ve got a long time going towards the World Championships next year.
“We have a few more races to do so I’m sure we’ll come up with better results.”
The British squad had expressed plenty of disappointment after last Thursday’s opening race, scraping through in fourth place having been tipped as one of the favourites for gold.
But having gone back to the drawing board and put a new plan in place – including a blistering opening fromBurke himself – the European Championships can’t be considered too much of a disappointment.
“The first day wasn’t too great but we made the best of a bad start, we got a medal which is always nice but now we’ll look towards making improvements,” Burke added.
“I had to get the team off to a decent start, in the middle round we went a bit too hard in the first kilometre.
“We took it by the scruff of the neck in that final, and we’ll learn from it.”
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