Dan McConnell should be a medal contender if he can carry on his Olympic improvement into the next four years.
While that is a simplistic projection, the Australian was still encouraged by his 21st placing on Sunday in men's cross-country mountain bike.
McConnell finished 39th in Beijing, his Games debut.
Czech world champion Jaroslav Kulhavy won the last cycling gold medal at the London Games after a pulsating race.
Kulhavy had a riveting duel with Swiss world No.1 Nino Schurter and Italian Marco Fontana over the last two laps of the seven-lap, 34km race at Hadleigh Farm in Essex.
Kulhavy outsprinted Schurter in the last 100m to win in an hour 29 minutes and seven seconds, with Fontana dropped on the last lap and finishing 25 seconds behind for the bronze medal.
McConnell was 4:15 off the pace.
After dominating the sport last year, Kulhavy focused on the Olympics and so had no World Cup wins heading into London.
"It's obviously worked for him - last year he pretty much won every race, so I think a lot of people were surprised when he wasn't winning," McConnell said.
"I think he was training through all the races and just preparing for this race. He has obviously done it perfect."
Asked about whether he could maintain his rate of Olympic improvement into Rio, McConnell laughed and said: "That would be nice, we've just got to keep it going over the next four years.
"This year has been a fairly big step up for me, hopefully I can keep that going to Rio.
"I definitely couldn't have gone any harder, it was just so fast.
"I just tried to settle into a pace that I could sustain early on in the first lap and was able to push home.
"I gave it all I had ... that's where I am (and) I'm really happy with that."
McConnell's partner Rebecca Henderson, who he also coaches, finished 25th on Saturday in the women's cross-country race.
Olympic mountain biking was cut from the Australian Institute of Sport after Beijing and McConnell and Henderson have basically raced and trained this year on their own, with minimal support.
McConnell said Cycling Australia would receive good value for money if they put more money into cross-country.