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Sir Chris Hoy believes three-time Olympic champion Jason Kenny's unknown form is frightening the opposition.
Kenny succeeded Hoy as Olympic sprint champion at the London 2012 Games, before being questioned by silver medallist Gregory Bauge of France as to why he can produce every four years, but not in the intervening period.
It is frustrating for the 27-year-old from Bolton, too, but Hoy believes the element of the unknown will leave Kenny's rivals guessing at the Track World Championships in London this week.
"Some athletes, like Jason, he sees the Olympics as the end goal and he has a plan to get there," Hoy said.
"It's not that he doesn't want to win. He doesn't go to the worlds or a World Cup and thinking: 'I cannot be bothered.' He still wants to do it.
"There is obviously something that doesn't quite engage mentally or physically until it really counts.
"It's quite a nice thing to have in many ways because his rivals will be terrified. They won't know what is happening with him.
"Hopefully this weekend we will see a bit of a spark. Speaking with various people, his form is excellent just now, as good as it has ever been.
"It's half science, half art. He has got it right when it has counted in the past. Hopefully he can do it again."
Kenny's first opportunity this week ended in disappointment as Britain finished sixth in the three-man, three-lap team sprint. The individual events - sprint and Keirin - are still to come.
Britain's women failed to qualify for the Olympics in the corresponding event.
Hoy was speaking as he announced a talent identification search for sprint cyclists, but denied there was a dearth of talent.
He said: "It's more about not resting on our laurels and looking ahead and not just saying something will happen, someone will turn up. We have to be proactive in looking for athletes."
The six-time Olympic champion and 11-time world champion is leading the search for powerful athletes aged 15 to 21 to be fast-tracked into the world of sprint cycling in a joint initiative between UK Sport, the English Institute of Sport (EIS) and British Cycling.
#DiscoverYourPower aims to unearth riders who could challenge for gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and beyond and was launched on the opening day of the Track Cycling World Championships in London, the final major event in the velodrome prior to the Rio Olympics.
Previous UK Sport and EIS talent identification campaigns have discovered Helen Glover, who went on to win Olympic rowing gold at London 2012 and Sochi 2014 skeleton gold medallist Lizzy Yarnold.
Hoy, though, says it is not just about talent, but application, too.
"I'm a big believer that talent is an over-rated word," added the 39-year-old Scot, who retired after becoming Britain's most decorated Olympian at London 2012.
"It implies you can just turn up, train how you want. To me, that's misleading. It's all about the work you need to get there.
"Attitude is the biggest thing I've seen in champions in all kinds of sport. Attitude, for me, is the clear indicator of potential or future success."
Genetics are important for a sprinter - you need the fast-twitch muscle fibres - but commitment is, too, as training demands no let up.
British Cycling performance pathway manager Ian Yates said: "We are setting our sights on Tokyo and beyond and we'll leave nothing to chance in finding and developing the best British sporting talent."
:: Find our more and sign up for #DiscoverYourPower at www.uksport.gov.uk/talent