Yellow to gold?

23/07/2012  -  11.13am

Professor Andy Lane

Next week Bradley Wiggins competes in the London Olympics. The key question is whether he can achieve similar success.

Winning the Tour de France is likely to mean he will go into the Games highly confident in his ability. Research shows that confidence predicts performance and so should we expect Wiggins to win gold? Possibly, but before we put the family savings on a Wiggins win, it’s important to consider a number of factors.

The first is that completing the tour will have taken its toll physically. Wiggins will be up against riders who did not compete in the tour; he will be riding against riders whose primary goal is winning the Olympics and who are not fatigued from completing 2000 miles over tough terrain in the previous few weeks. Recovery will be a massive issue.

However, we know the he will be supported by top sport scientists and sports medics and will be part of a highly effective team.

Second, there will be riders who performed poorly in the tour, who feel disappointed about their performance and these feelings are driving them onto correct mistakes made or bad luck; remember, all the crashes in the early stages of the tour. We don’t know how those riders will perform; but we do know that intense unwanted emotions can be powerful drivers of behaviour.

However, we know that Wiggins performs well under pressure; we know that GB cycling is an effective and successful team and so we should be confident that he can deliver a good performance on the day.

Winning the tour has demonstrated he was the best rider of 14 days, and winning the gold is about being the best on one ride; we should be confident of him performing well.