|Andy Tennant in his Rainbow Jersey|
Not many people are going to get a letter like that in their lives and I was impressed how it was hand addressed and hand signed using a traditional ink pen, nice touch. Andy had known about the selection before the letter had arrived and been announced to the media via a short telephone call.
It's a proud moment for him as - by his own admission - the start to his year wasn't the best. He'd had some illness and it left him chasing a place for the World Championships in Melbourne. Determined to win his place he embarked on a big training block which impressed the coaches - Dan Hunt and Shane Sutton - enough to get him a ticket on that plane to Melbourne.
Team morale was good and Andy rode in the qualifiers, getting the team to the final. However, things weren't 100% right, his legs weren't quite right and he spoke to the coaching staff to recommend that he be replaced in order for the team to succeed, which they did.
Andy commented "I knew things weren't 100% and you have to remember this is a team event, winning the gold is the objective. The pursuit is not like football substitution with eleven men on the field, you change one man and 25% of the team has changed. You have to be honest with yourself and on the day, my legs weren't there. I could have said to the coaches I was OK and I feel sure that they would have put me forward, but you have to keep the overall game plan in play."
As part of the qualifying squad, Andy got a rainbow jersey and the gold medal. "To pull on the World Championship jersey was just fantastic, obviously it would have been nicer to ride in the final but it is a team discipline and you have to qualify to get to the final. If I had rode the bike one metre in that race and climbed off I would have still got a silver. We beat our Copenhagen record, we took the third fastest time ever and the quickest qualifying time ever, so I can hold my head up on this one."
Andy won't get to wear the rainbow jersey at London 2012, but he can wear it each time he rides the pursuit moving forward. Asking him about preparations for London 2012, had this to say: -
"Next week we'll be in Manchester, then off to Majorca for a training camp, back to Manchester, then it's off to Newport for the Olympic run in and final training. At Newport, we'll be under lock and key as we finally bring together the team, the kit and the strategy under one roof." He'll only get to ride the boards at London around five days before the event, Ed Clancy said that the track was very similar to Melbourne which should give the team a good lift.
London will be similar to Melbourne, there is a five man squad and one rider will likely be rotated for the final, which will be tough on the chosen individual. Andy remains level headed on the issue and keep the "team" message at the front of his mind although was quick to point out that he will be giving it everything to get there and ride in front of a home crowd.
Andy has been doing some domestic racing for his team Rapha Condor Sharp however everything is pretty much on hold now as the final preparation for London 2012 kicks in. He's hoping to compete in the Tour of Britain later in the year.
Andy Tennant is an old head on young shoulders. Practical, calm and collected about the Olympics, he sees this as another race in a familiar location. Sticking to the process, the training and the schedule is what its all about. I know that this will be a flagship event with the whole country watching, it will be great to see us pick up the gold and our ambitions now rest with Andy, Ed Clancy, Geraint Thomas, Steven Burke and Peter Kennaugh. Good luck guys!