STEVEN Burke will bid to emulate his long-time role model Bradley Wiggins when he starts his campaign for Olympic gold today – but the Colne Cyclone has warned that Great Britain cannot simply view the team pursuit as a showdown with Australia.
Burke is expected to be part of the British team pursuit quartet that take part in qualifying from 4.42pm this afternoon for a place in tomorrow’s finals.
They go into the event as favourites for the gold medal after breaking the world record at the World Track Cycling Cham-pionships in Melbourne in April.
That was a crucial psychological blow in the battle with main rivals Australia, who had previously been the form team.
Burke, who has previously cited Wiggins and Chris Boardman as his cycling idols, is seeking his first Olympic gold – after bronze in the individual pursuit in Beijing four years ago.
Encouraged by times set in training in recent weeks, the 24-year-old believes another world record will be needed to secure gold at the Velodrome.
But he has also insisted that they must focus on more than just the Australians.
New Zealand and Russia are among the other challengers.
“I think we need to break the world record to win,” Burke said.“As long as we do that, we’ve got a good chance of winning the gold.
“If you think too much about the opposition, it’s a disadvantage really. We’ve just got to concentrate on ourselves and not worry about what anyone else is doing.
“People make a big deal of us versus Australia but that is a mistake. “I don’t really think about the oth-er teams because it’s such a close discipline.
“It’s just about going as fast as you can over 4,000 metres.”
Burke, though, is not reading too much into home advantage.
“I’m not thinking about it being in London, it’s about winning medals in my opinion,” he said. “I’m sure it will make it extra special, but as long as I win a gold medal I’m not bothered where it is.
“We’ve put in a lot of hard work since the World Championships and we’ve really knuckled down as a team and hopefully things will come together when it matters.
“It’s special to compete at a home Games but it’s more special to win at a home Games and that’s my focus.”
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