British Cycling’s coaches have announced the rider line-ups for the London round of the UCI Track World Cup, which starts at London’s new velodrome tomorrow.
Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton, Geraint Thomas, and Ed Clancy will feature in a 14-strong squad containing multiple Olympic and world champions who will compete in a four-day competition that will double as the Olympic test event.
Head coach, Shane Sutton, said that while the majority of his riders were “in a good place”, they would face greater scrutiny at this event than they are likely to encounter at the London Games this summer.
“This crowd will be more knowledgeable than the Olympic crowd. So anything that we do will be really scrutinised here. But I don’t want the riders feeling any pressure as far as that’s concerned. They put enough pressure on themselves to get a result anyway. I would say ninety per cent across the board, everyone’s in a good place. It’s just a few areas at this moment in time we need to work on,” he said.
Sir Chris Hoy will compete in the sprint, team sprint, and keirin – the three disciplines in which he won gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. He will be Team GB’s sole competitor in the keirin (Matt Crampton will ride the event for Sky Track Cycling), and ride at ‘man three’ in the team sprint line up.
Hoy’s current form matched his conditioning in the lead-up to the Beijing Games of 2008, said Sutton. “I would say he’s as good now as he was at this time, looking at the powers that he’s producing now and the way he’s going.”
Hoy and Kenny, the world sprint champion, will both compete in the individual sprint. The pair will be led in the team sprint by Ross Edgar, a selection Sutton described as “a big opportunity” for the Scottish rider.
“People will look at this and they’ll be very judgmental if we don’t perform in the team sprint. But, what you’ve got to remember is that we’ve got a guy stepping up. He’s put his hand up, he’s stepping up to the plate…he’s not a natural ‘man one’, but he’s giving it his best shot.
“As far as the team’s concerned, I think everybody needs to get behind that. Ross has gone ‘man two’ and did 12.8.
“We all know that if Ross hadridden ‘man two’ in Beijing, he’d be Olympic champion. They won it by a country mile. Ross was nudged out by a very, very fast young kid on that trial that we had in Newport by a tenth. And therefore we obviously went with Jason Kenny, he’s an Olympic champion. Ross sat on the sidelines, unfortunately. So I don’t see this being the end of the road for Ross by a long shot,” he said.
Olympic sprint champion, Victoria Pendleton, will represent Great Britain in the women’s sprint, team sprint, and keirin. She will ride alongside Jess Varnish in the team sprint and compete against her young team mate in the sprint and keirin. Dani King will compete in the women’s scratch race.
The men’s team pursuit line-up will include two gold medalists from Beijing, Ed Clancy and Geraint Thomas. The pair will be joined by Team Sky’s Pete Kennaugh and Team IG-Sigma Sport’s Steven Burke. Sutton said the selection had been a tough process, adding that Andy Tennant could still be selected for April’s world championships.
“We’ve gone with what we think is our best four option available to us in this competition, and we still have other people like Wiggins out in the wings, depending on which pathway he takes,” he said.
Using a cricketing analogy, Sutton, an Australian, said the team pursuit occupied a place in the imagination similar to the Ashes, and warned against placing too much importance on one event.
“I see the team pursuit as just one medal. When you look at the sprint disciplines, you’ve got three medals in women’s sprint, three medals in men’s sprint. We’ve got one medal in the team pursuit, so we’ve got to be careful that we don’t just pour all our energies into that… we’ve got to be careful as a team that we don’t just live and die of that one result we get in team pursuit.”
Wendy Houvenaghel will lead the women’s team pursuit line up, and will ride alongside Laura Trott and Joanna Rowsell. Rowsell will be Great Britain’s sole competitor in the individual pursuit, an event dropped from the Olympic roster for 2012. Dani King will compete in the scratch race.
In the Omnium, Laura Trott and Team Sky’s Ben Swift will ride in the women’s and men’s categories respectively.
Great Britain’s entrants by discipline
Men’s Sprint – Sir Chris Hoy, Jason Kenny
Men’s Team Sprint –Ross Edgar, Jason Kenny, Sir Chris Hoy
Men’s Keirin – Sir Chris Hoy
Men’s Team Pursuit – Ed Clancy, Geraint Thomas, Peter Kennaugh, Steven Burke
Men’s Omnium – Ben Swift
Women’s Sprint – Jess Varnish, Victoria Pendleton
Women’s Team Sprint – Jess Varnish, Victoria Pendleton
Women’s Keirin – Jess Varnish, Victoria Pendleton
Women’s Team Pursuit – Laura Trott, Wendy Houvenaghel, Joanna Rowsell
Women’s Omnium – Laura Trott
Women’s Scratch – Dani King
Women’s Individual Pursuit – Joanna Rowsell