Great Britain's track team has a habit of peaking for the big occasion as evidenced by seven gold medals from 10 events at the last two Olympics.
So does Sir Bradley Wiggins, who will begin his campaign for a fifth Olympic gold and British record eighth medal in team pursuit qualifying on Thursday.
Sir Dave Brailsford, the mastermind behind the successes of Beijing 2008 and London 2012, described an undulating progression designed to peak every four years.
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But there was never a sudden jolt like the departure of his successor Shane Sutton in April amid allegations of discrimination, which he denies.


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Sutton, who was appointed technical director when Brailsford finally let go of the reins to concentrate on Team Sky full-time in April 2014, put everything in place for a successful Rio Games.
But what constitutes success? Surely Britain cannot match, or surpass, the feats of four and eight years ago?
Without Sutton's intuitive knowledge it will be difficult. Whatever else has been said about him, Sutton has a brilliant bike brain; an instinct which delivered results.


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Confidence was boosted by results at March's Track World Championships in London, but only two of the five gold medals won were in Olympic events.
There were five medals from the 10 Olympic events in all, while the women's team sprint squad did not qualify for Rio, irking Jess Varnish and Katy Marchant and starting a chain of events which led to Sutton's departure.

chris hoy, britain

Image credit: Reuters

The men's team sprint which Britain have won at the last two Olympics is the only medal on offer on Thursday's opening day and will give a barometer of the team's progress.
Britain have not won a world title in the three-man, three-lap event since 2005, but Phil Hindes and Jason Kenny came from nowhere to win with Sir Chris Hoy at London 2012.
After a long period of transition and experimentation, Callum Skinner has taken Hoy's 'man three' place in the line-up and the key to the performance will be whether he can keep pace with Hindes and Kenny. Germany, France, Australia and New Zealand will be gunning for glory too.
Wiggins and Mark Cavendish won gold in the non-Olympic Madison in March and spoke glowingly of each other afterwards.
But Cavendish hinted at behind-the-scenes tensions this week, making public his frustration at likely not being given an opportunity in the 4km, four-man team pursuit, which has qualifying on Thursday and concludes on Friday with a semi-final and final.
Cavendish will focus on the six-discipline omnium, targeting the Olympic medal that has proved elusive in the past two Games.
Ed Clancy, who struggled with a back injury last year and into the World Championships, when Britain finished second to Australia, Steven Burke and Owain Doull compete alongside Wiggins.
Speaking at the Newport holding camp, prior to travelling to Rio, 36-year-old Wiggins was optimistic.

Laura Trott of Britain celebrates winning the women's omnium

Image credit: Reuters

"It's for us to lose," Wiggins, the 2012 Tour de France champion, told
"I've carried on, I've gone through this process to try to win a gold medal.
"I know how fast this team can go. Something will have to go seriously wrong, I believe, for us to lose.
"If that's the case, then it will be a huge disappointment."
Wiggins was asked to appraise the five members of the endurance squad, including Cavendish. But Wiggins omitted the Manxman when discussing the team pursuit.

Bradley Wiggins of Team GB poses for a photo

Image credit: Reuters

"Over the 16 years this is the first time I've been part of a team pursuit squad where every one of the four guys is of equal strength," Wiggins added.
"Normally, you're always getting one guy who's perhaps stronger than the others (and) I've been one of those ones that was carried to the gold medal."
Britain's women also begin their team pursuit campaign, with the semi-final and final on Saturday.
Britain won gold at London 2012 when the event made its Olympic debut, before it was expanded to 4km with four riders.
A four-year unbeaten sequence was ended in February 2015 when Australia won the world title and a disappointing qualifying ride a year on in London meant they could win bronze at best. They duly did as the United States took gold.
Laura Trott, Joanna Rowsell-Shand - gold medallists in London - Katie Archibald, Elinor Barker and Ciara Horne are in the five-rider squad.
It is by no means the near-certain gold it once was and Britain could face a trying campaign in the velodrome, with the gold medals expected to be shared more evenly than in the last two Games.
Additional reporting via PA
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