Sarah Storey’s dreams of becoming the first Briton to compete at both the Olympic and Paralympic Games are over after she was dropped from the women’s team pursuit squad.
Storey joined forces with Wendy Houvenaghel and Laura Trott to claim gold at last weekend’s UCI World Cup in Cali, Columbia – but was told on arriving back in Manchester that she had not done enough to make the four-rider squad for London 2012.
“I collected my bags in Manchester and before heading home was told my performance in Cali was not as good as they [the selectors] were looking for and so this is the end of the journey for me with the Great Britain team pursuit team,” said Storey.
“I have always said that London 2012 is about riding as many events as I am good enough for and so now it is important for me to concentrate on the other events I have at the Games.”
Houvenaghel, Trott, Dani King – who together won World Championship gold in March – and Joanna Rowsell will now compete for the three available places in the final line-up, while Storey will focus on selection in five Paralympic events.
The 34-year-old was born without a left hand and won five swimming gold medals at the 1992 and 1996 Paralympic Games before switching to cycling and claiming time trial and individual pursuit gold at the Beijing Paralympics in 2008.
“Selection for the Paralympic Games will be made on June 20, so my priorities don’t really change a great deal as I have to concentrate on trying to get selected for and defend the two gold medals I won in Beijing,” she added.
“I always said the team pursuit was another opportunity to become the best athlete I could be and it would be a bonus if I was able to make the event work alongside the events in which I am para-cycling world champion.
“As with any team event the squad has to work to get the fastest three riders on the start line in the Olympic final and in the eyes of the selectors I am not able to contribute to this process any longer.”