Britain’s team pursuiters are all training in Majorca ahead of the Manchester track World Cup next month as the coaches face a tough selection process.
For the three women’s team pursuit spots there are currently nine riders vying for those slots, whereas eight men are going for four spots.
Triple Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins is aiming to get his spot back and has been training as much with the GB riders in Majorca as his Team Sky team mates. Geraint Thomas and Ben Swift, both currently racing at the Tour Down Under are also looking to earn selection for the world cup
The final riders looking to be selected are Ed Clancy, Andy Tennant, Steven Burke (all in Majorca) and Jason Queally (in Australia).
The riders have been saying they want to remind the Australians (current world champions) who they are, but GB Endurance Coach Dan Hunt is being more diplomatic. “We’re really looking forward to the world cup,” he said. “I don’t really want to embark on a toe-to-toe with the Aussie team. We’re good, they know that. They’re good, we know that.”
“We pulled together 3:54 minutes in Manchester in 2009 with Andy Tennant in the team, and they went 3:55 minutes at the worlds with Andy Tennant and Ben Swift in the team, with [Steven] Burke in two and Ed [Clancy] in one.”
“We’re pulling Geraint and Bradley back in for Manchester. I think 3:55 minutes in good conditions is now where the world level is at. I’d hope that we’d be in and around that level.”
Behind those nine riders are the Olympic Academy riders that rode a 4-05 minute team pursuit in Beijing yesterday, setting a new Academy record. Although none of them are in the frame, their performance shows there are yet more riders ready to break through.
For the women’s team pursuit, Endurance Coach Paul Manning has nine riders to select from. Only three riders compete in the women’s 3km event, but a 100% ME team will compete in Manchester as well as a GB trio.
“We’ve got nine here, they’re not all going to feature in the worlds this year, but the whole group is based around the Olympics,” Manning said. “We’ve got the established podium athletes that we’ve seen perform at world level through to young first year seniors who are showing promise, and we’re on that journey to see who emerges in 2012.”
The British trio of Wendy Houvenaghel, Rebecca Romero and Jo Rowsell won the inaugural women’s team pursuit in 2008, since when the event record has plummeted, with the Australians, Kiwis and Russians all setting fast times.
“I think it was 1988 that the first women’s [Olympic] track race took place. So the fact that women have only been on the track since 1988 through to the fact that that women’s team pursuit only began in Manchester 2008, it’s an emerging arm of the sport.”
International track results 2010/2011
Official website of the 2011 Manchester track World Cup