For many athletes across the world the last few years have all revolved around one major set of events held in Rio later this year and Great Britain’s cyclists are no different.
The official selection lists are not due to be published by British Cycling until 2.15pm on Friday so anything shared beforehand is questionable, but a leaked list apparently seen by the Daily Mail gave the names of Lizzie Armitstead and Nikki Harris – presumably alongside Emma Pooley though this is to be confirmed.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Dani King said she had already been informed she was not selected and that she was heartbroken.
I found out a few days ago that I won’t be going to Rio & unfortunately it got leaked today. Here’s my thoughts ???? https://t.co/QNtYvmDYGi
— Dani King (@DaniKing1) June 22, 2016
We spoke to King on the first day of the Aviva Women’s Tour, and enquired if the Olympic Games were still her goal, and she told us: “I’m definitely still aiming for Rio, I’ve been aiming for that all year.” King told us back in October that she’d left the track behind and had her heart set on the Rio Road Race.
However, now the news that she’s not on the list is out, King’s been able to be more honest. We feel a bit awful for asking now, as she told the Telegraph, who published their story today: “This last week has been a real rollercoaster. I was in tears the night before the Women’s Tour… I emailed [British Cycling interim performance director] Andy Harrison to ask for an explanation and was sent the minutes from the selection meeting but there wasn’t really an explanation in that.”
King feels that the selection has not been based upon the original criteria she was given for selection, or upon performance so far this year. Harris rides on Armitstead’s Boels-Dolmans trade team, but Pooley retired from cycling to focus on triathlon two years ago and only returned because British Cycling invited her as the hilly course could suit her.
King explained, according to the Telegraph: “I’ve had nine top 10s, including a seventh at the Philadelphia Classic, a World Tour race. I’ve also had 10 top-20 results including 14th at Strade Bianche, one of the most technical races there is, and 11th overall at the Tour of California and the Women’s Tour last week. That is despite working for my team leader at all of those races.
“As I say, it’s not about Emma. It’s not about Nikki either – she deserves her spot. Like me, she has worked hard for her [Boels Dolmans] teammates all year and tried to balance that with getting some strong results for herself.
“It is about British Cycling’s criteria and selection process. In terms of results, I should have been selected, it’s as simple as that. I should be second on the list behind Lizzie.”
Though of course the Aviva Women’s Tour was a stage race, not a one day event, and features very different short, sharp climbs as opposed to the long climb of Rio, it is notable that King finished 11th, Harris 14th and Pooley 45th whilst of course Armitstead won.
The official selection will not be released until Friday at 2.15pm, and so far British Cycling have offered no further insight. Emma Pooley will be racing the British National Time Trial in Stockton-on-Tees on Thursday, setting off one minute before defending champion Hayley Simmonds.