Sir Dave Brailsford free of blame for sub-par GB, says head coach

Trott secures track cycling silver

Sir Dave Brailsford is not to blame for Britain's below-par performance at the Track Cycling World Championships, says head coach Shane Sutton.

The women won five medals in Colombia, four in Olympic events.

But the men underperformed, failing to win a medal for the first time since lottery funding began in 1998.

"The buck stops with me," said Sutton. "For people to point the finger at Dave is unfounded. He's been the greatest leader in British sport history."

Brailsford missed the Worlds for a second successive year to focus on his other role as Team Sky principal.

But Sutton pointed out that Britain won nine medals at the 2012 World Championships in Minsk, five of them gold, despite Brailsford's absence.

"We weren't having this conversation 12 months ago when Dave wasn't here," said the Australian.

Former Olympic pursuit champion Chris Boardman says Brailsford needs to fully commit to leading Great Britain.

"I'm not sure about an overhaul, but it needs a boss," said Boardman, who won gold at the 1992 Games.

"Dave would clearly be the best full-time boss, but if he's not going to do that, it might be better if somebody else comes in and takes the reins."

Brailsford has been British Cycling performance director since 2003 and has overseen success for Britain at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

During his time as Team Sky principal, the 50-year-old has also helped Bradley Wiggins become Britain's first Tour de France winner in 2012 and guided Chris Froome to success the following year.

"Shane is great, a good second in command, but perhaps not the person to be the big boss," added Boardman.

"British cycling's in a period of change now. The potential is all still there. It just might need somebody to pull it all together."

Sutton is adamant that he and Brailsford are still the men for the job and can lead successful teams to both the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

"We love a battle," he continued. "We've got a real scrap on here now."

He added: "I probably want it more than the riders. I want to stay here. I want to take them into Rio and Tokyo, if I've got the opportunity."

However, Sutton said that the riders need to step up their performances if they are to match their exploits at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

"I've got concerns with the current crop of riders we've got and it's only them that can change," he said.

"They got it wrong. They went out for the festive season, came back and weren't where they should have been. We've just gone backwards and I think the accountability rests with the riders."

Sutton also appealed to four-time Olympic champion Sir Bradley Wiggins and London 2012 team pursuit gold medallist Peter Kennaugh to make clear their intentions regarding track returns for the Rio Olympics.