Staff backs Hindes for GB
Olympic champion Jamie Staff expects Philip Hindes to succeed him in the Great Britain team in London but is not banking on a team sprint gold.
Staff combined with Jason Kenny and Sir Chris Hoy to win the three-man, three-lap event in Beijing in 2008 before retiring two years later, in part due to a back problem.
Britain have struggled to fill the specialist starter slot occupied by Staff, with Kenny, Ross Edgar and 19-year-old German-born Hindes all tried.
Hindes now appears to be in pole position to lead out Kenny and Hoy after taking the same role at April's Track Cycling World Championships in Melbourne.
Staff, now a coach of the United States team, said: "He did quite a respectable time. He was maybe third fastest starter and if he can go out and deliver that kind of time it gives a fighting chance of a medal.
"He's heading in the right direction. I'm pretty sure he'll get the spot."
Britain were disqualified in Melbourne for a changeover error but times were promising. However, Australia won a surprise gold ahead of France and previous world champions Germany, who were also disqualified and the competition for Olympic medals is wide open.
Staff fears Britain will not have enough to strike gold on this occasion.
He added: "I personally would be surprised if they got gold.
"Watching them in Melbourne I was thinking 'you guys will struggle to get a bronze'.
"With a skin suit and on a magical day maybe they can get a silver."
Hoy and Kenny are poised to combine in the team sprint, but are in competition in the individual event.
Hoy won Olympic gold in Beijing, with Kenny runner-up, but regulation changes mean only one can compete in London and Kenny beat the Scot in Melbourne.
Staff believes selectors must consider the Bauge factor - Gregory Bauge, who has won three of the last four world sprint titles, including against Kenny in April - and thinks Hoy might get the nod to ride in both the sprint and keirin due to his ability to beat the Frenchman.
"It's really hard (to choose)," Staff added.
"It's not necessarily who is the quickest out of those two guys (Hoy and Kenny). It's thousandths of a second between them.
"Chris is suited to beat Bauge with a little bit more horsepower than Jason.
"I think Jason is tactically better than Chris, but Chris has more power when he's on form."