Great Britain's next generation of track cyclists are "heading towards greatness", according to head coach Shane Sutton.

Britain finished top of the medal table with five golds and nine medals in all at the Track Cycling World Championships in Minsk. Those wondering if Britain could replace the likes of the retired Victoria Pendleton and Sir Chris Hoy, who is taking a sabbatical as he ponders his future, by the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro now have their answer - a categorical yes.

"If you look to where we were at the beginning of the last Olympic cycle, I think we're in a much stronger position," said Sutton, who has been influential in the careers of Sir Bradley Wiggins, Hoy and Pendleton as Dave Brailsford's right-hand man at British Cycling. "You can virtually name your team for Rio now. I think this team is heading towards greatness in four years' time."

He added: "They're joined already as a team, they're a very young squad, and they all get on, they're all on the same page. It's quite exciting from my point of view and Dave's point of view to see us come here and see us perform with this particular squad."

In Minsk, there were no signs of a London 2012 hangover as Britain won three more gold medals than in Pruszkow, Poland four years earlier.

Becky James claimed two - in the women's sprint and Keirin - Jason Kenny won the men's Keirin, Simon Yates the points race and the team pursuit squad of Laura Trott, Dani King - the eldest female in the squad at 22 - and 18-year-old A-Level student Elinor Barker also won gold.

Double Olympic champion Trott had to settle for silver in the omnium and there was silver for the men's team pursuit squad of Ed Clancy, Steven Burke, Andy Tennant and Sam Harrison. James also won two bronze medals, including in the team sprint with Vicky Williamson.

Britain won seven gold medals in Beijing and replicated the haul in London, but struggled to convince in between.

Sutton believes rival nations were simply better before a late surge from the British riders. He hopes to carry momentum from London 2012 and Minsk through the current squad and enjoy success throughout the run up to, as well as in, Rio.

"If we continue working hard, we will continue to medal well at World Championships," he said. "We come here to win medals. Medals build momentum. We need to keep this going."