Summer Olympic Games 1996 – 2012
Great Britain’s success is well explained in Richard Moore’s book Heroes, Villains and Velodromes. Lottery funding did help a lot but what was also required was a change of culture, one which began when Peter Keen coached Chris Boardman to a gold medal in 1992. Also vital are the highly confidential technical tricks of the Secret Squirrel Club.
Sir Bradley Wiggins will go for a record eighth Olympic medal in the team pursuit in Rio.
Six of the seven Dutch medals were won by women, four in road cycling events, and two by road cycling specialists on the track. The Netherlands is one of a few countries where participation in cycling is higher in women than in men, helped by an extensive, and safe, cycling infrastructure, more evidence of the impact of urban planning on medal success.
Great Britain cannot keep its secrets forever and it may be less dominant this year than in 2008 and 2012. In the long term, its lack of infrastructure could cause it to fall behind.
Alpine nations, France and Switzerland, have the most mountain biking medals but gold still eludes the Swiss. Nino Schurter has bronze and silver and aims to complete the set.
Next: Which countries lead head first into the diving pool? (OK, not including China)