Andy Tennant writes: European Championship gold and Manchester World Cup preparation

We went to the European Championships in Apeldoorn with the aim to try and win but obviously it was close – we beat Russia in the final by just 0.2 seconds.

We always expected the Russians to be our biggest competition – they’ve stepped up their game a lot in the last three or four years.

Andy Tennant, pictured at last year’s Glasgow World Cup event, was back on the track for the European Championships where he was part of the gold medal-winning team pursuit squad (Pic: Alex Broadway/

They looked good at London 2012 and in the last couple of years they’ve taken on former British Cycling performance manager Heiko Salzwedel as coach, so obviously they’ve been improving over that time.

It was also going to be a tough call and we knew that going into it. We wanted to win but we were not necessarily expecting it so it was really pleasing.

It’s not just the four of us who rode in the final either – we have a six-man squad. There were six of us going in and we swapped the line-up for the finals and it worked just as well.

You’re only as good as your fourth or fifth man so having six competitive riders is a good sign

That’s what they’re looking at having – six riders who can be competitive for the worlds, and then you all end up pushing each other on. You’re only as good as your fourth or fifth man really so it is a good sign.

I don’t really get the chance to see what the form’s like with the other riders, but the team pursuit girls are obviously just exceptionally better than the rest of the world at the moment.

We’re in a privileged position in the UK where we’ve got five exceptionally strong women, where most other nations are lucky if they get one or two. We’re in a fantastic position.

Tennant’s female counterparts continue to dominate as the four national champions – Jo Rowsell, Laura Trott, Elinor Barker and Dani King – joined with Katie Archibald to set another world record (Pic: Alex Broadway/

With the sprint, Philip Hindes crashed before the event and that didn’t help matters but the whole programme is Olympic-driven – there are three years really until we actually want to win.

These events are used more by British Cycling for development, they want to win at the Olympics – that’s what all the funding is about.

The riders really want to win the Europeans but it doesn’t always happen that way so you are looking at the bigger picture instead.

Preparing for the World Cup

The teams we’re up against at the World Cup event in Manchester at the start of November will be very similar to those at the Europeans, and then you’ve also got the Aussies and the Kiwis so it depends what they bring to the table.

We’ve got a couple of days on the track this week on Wednesday and Thursday, and then there’s the first Revolution Series event on Saturday.

We go back into a team hotel next Monday – I have this week at home – and then we’re back in Manchester and will ride on the track pretty much every day up until the World Cup on Friday.

We worked through the Europeans rather than tapering off as you would normally do for a competition, so we’ll taper off a bit more for the Manchester World Cup and hopefully we’ll go a bit faster.

In fact, we definitely will go faster because of the nature of the track. Apeldoorn’s a notoriously tough, slow track – we did a standing 4km ride before we left and we went faster than we did in Apeldoorn with that training effort!

Britain’s cyclists return to their ‘home’ venue in Manchester for the Revolution Series and the first World Cup event of the season (Pic: Alex Broadway/

It is a slow track in Apeldoorn. The times will be naturally faster in Manchester, and we can go a little faster in ourselves too.

Although it is where we train, there’s not an advantage in terms of having a ‘home track’ as such. Obviously you’ve got the crowd and it’s a big World Cup event so you get more excited for it, but it’s not like football where you get a home advantage.

There, the pitches are all different so there’s something in it, but with tracks it all depends on climatic condition.

Track cycling’s boomed in the UK and of all the nations we’ve got the biggest following – it is fantastic

That’s what makes them fast and slow and it’s the same for everyone so it will either make everyone go a bit faster or everyone go a bit slower.

It will be exciting to compete though, there’s going to be a massive crowd and it’s a massive event.

Track cycling’s boomed in the UK and out of all the nations we’ve got the biggest following for track cycling – it is fantastic.

We’ve got Revolution on Saturday so that should be a good event but the Manchester World Cup will be the highlight of this year now, and then we’ve got the worlds in the new year so that will be good.

The Revolution Series returns on Saturday and Andy will be up against his Great Britain team-mate Ed Clancy, pictured competing last year, in an incredibly strong field (Pic:

In terms of preparing for the Revolution Series, where Dean Downing and I will represent Madison-Genesis in the endurance events, and then the World Cup afterwards, obviously both are on the track so that helps.

All the cadence and the tolerance and a lot of the actions are very similar to team pursuiting. There’s no stress towards it. It’s almost like a training day.

You race hard, you maybe make more moves than you would in a normal race but it’s looking at stretching yourself out and getting a good work load as well.

Balancing commitments on and off the track

Away from the track I’ve signed up to the Champions of Cycle Sport Dinner, which will be held in aid of Action Medical Research at the Hurlingham Club in London on Thursday November 28.

I’ve been signed up through Madison-Genesis for the dinner, but I’m also an ambassador to the British Heart Foundation off my own back because I had heart problems when I was a kid, so I’m quite heavily linked with them.

That’s the charity I’m signed up most closely too, but I’m also committed to the dinner and that should be a great event. I’m just trying to do my little bit where I can.

You do these sort of things when you want to, you’re not pressured by sponsors and so on.

You can only do so much for charity and if I can use what small profile I do have to help then that’s something I feel I’ve got to do.

If I can use what small profile I do have to help with charity work, then that’s something I feel I’ve got to do

It’s one of those things – you give what you can. I think if you can give what you’ve got for charity, or give your time, then that’s fantastic.

You do have to balance your time though – you can’t sign up to everything as a professional because you’ve got to manage the timescale too. You do have to say no to some people, it’s one of those things.

Of course cycling has to come first, and then you manage your extras around that. It’s hard to say no to people but you just have to do it on occasions unfortunately.

Andy Tennant is a member of Great Britain’s world champion men’s team pursuit squad, and a pro cyclist on the road with the Madison-Genesis UCI Continental team. Follow Andy on Twitter – @tennanto

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