Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Philip Hindes – Team GB’s Sprint Team ‘Man One’


HomeInterviewsPhilip Hindes - Team GB's Sprint Team 'Man One'
Philip Hindes
Philip Hindes.

Sometimes even we get it wrong with interviews, take this one with London Olympics team sprint champion, Philip Hindes.

We caught up with Philip prior to the Worlds In Paris and thought we’d be clever, holding on to the piece ‘til post Paris so as we could announce the interview as with; ‘recent Worlds medallist, Philip Hindes.’

It was not to be; despite World Cup success with the same line up of Hindes, Jason Kenny and Callum Skinner earlier in the track season, GB didn’t get it right in qualifying, finishing a distant eighth.

In the team sprint there are no second chances; in the next round fourth fastest goes against third fastest for bronze and second fastest goes against fastest for gold – everyone else reaches for a beer and/or goes home.

Hindes was a multiple junior track medallist in Germany before he changed nationalities from German to British and became part of the GB track juggernaut, winning gold in London in the team sprint with Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny.

But since then the opposition have been making up ground – fast.

New Zealand in particular has zoomed up the world rankings and would have defended their team sprint world title in France had they not fallen victim to the evermore petty and Byzantine UCi rules on track racing;

‘Webster had overlapped Mitchell’s rear wheel in the changeover by a tyre’s width’ – it didn’t affect the result – but ‘rules are rules …

Their disqualification meant that France took the title – in Paris, funny that …

But GB’s eighth place meant as ‘man one,’ Hindes’ Worlds were over after just one lap in anger – so we’re glad we spoke to him before his trip to Paris.

Philip Hindes
Philip in action in London at the Olympics a couple of years ago. Photo©AP

A nice win in for GB in the Guadalajara World Cup #1, Philip.

“Yes, we were really happy with that; there’s been a bit of a fight for that third slot but Callum Skinner has fitted in well and has impressed.”

Seventh in the London World Cup #2, though?

“London was always going to be hard just two weeks after Mexico with all the travel and the fact that you have to maintain your gym work; New Zealand went back there, too.”

Then sixth in the last World Cup #3 in Cali…

“Yes but that was a ‘B’ team, it was too close to the Worlds for us to miss a week of training – the Worlds squad has been in Valencia preparing.”

GB is ranked fourth in the World in the team sprint …

“As long as we’re top five ranked in Europe that means we’ll qualify for Rio 2016.”

As ‘man one’ it’s a lot of travel/training/stress to race just 250 metres.

“I’d like to do more match sprinting and keirins but team sprint is so specialised now that I have to focus and train on the smaller geared starting effort – and the team sprint is my best medal chance in Rio.

“I always have to have targets and that’s mine, right now.”

What’s your best time for one lap; the German, Rene Enders has the record with 16.984?

“I did 17.24 in Cali but I’m getting stronger every year and I’ll go quicker than that; my target pre-Rio is 16.9.”

Philip Hindes
Philip celebrates in London with coaches Jan van Eiden and Shane Sutton. Photo©Getty

When Craig MacLean was on the squad he used to tell me that there was a lot of pressure to keep a place on the team.

“At the moment I don’t really have that; before the last Olympics I had Ross Edgar competing with me for the spot which was good for motivation – I like to have someone chasing me.

“But of course, that’s not down to me …”

Why did you take up GB citizenship?

“Where I lived in Germany there was no velodrome; I’ve always been a big fan of the GB track squad and Chris Hoy in particular.

“I’m of British extraction with lots of family here – my granddad lives in Lincoln.

“The approach here is more professional than in Germany; I get a bit of ribbing from the other guys about my accent but that’s normal – everyone gets it about something.”

You used to be a rower?

“Yes, my brother and I when I was 14/15 but you need to be tall and have ‘long levers’ to be really good at it.

“I was competing against guys my age who were two metres tall!”

You had a nice win last season in the Cottbuser Sprint Cup tournament in Germany; former world champion Botticher was down in third.

“And I was the last qualifier there.

“Because I do all my starting efforts on a 96” gear when it comes to the time trial sprint qualifying on 106” – or even higher – then I struggle because it’s not the ratio or effort I’m used to.

“But once I get into the match sprinting then it’s a different story – I enjoy that but as a slow qualifier then you meet the fastest guys from the time trial in the first round.”

How many peaks do you aim for each year?

“Just one – for the Worlds.

“For World Cups we train as normal, we just treat them as part of our training, weight training right up to them – but we taper off into the Worlds.”

Philip Hindes
Philip, with team sprint chums Jason Kenny and Chris Hoy celebrate gold in London. Photo©EPA

You’re in a unique position having ridden the GB and German ‘super bikes’ how do they compare?

“There’s a little difference in the handling but they’re both really stiff, good bikes – although I haven’t ridden the latest German bikes, the ones they had at the London World Cup.”

What do for relaxation when you’re not training or racing?

“Not a lot!

“Go for a coffee, a bite to eat – but life is really training, resting, massage and racing.”

And your goals?

“Winning the team sprint in the Worlds, Europeans and Olympics; and then I’d like to have success in sprinting and keirin – but that’ll have to wait ‘til after Rio in 2016.”