British Cycling have announced their Olympic Cycling Teams for the Rio games – and there’s no real surprises after a leaked list published by the Daily Mail gave us the women’s road squad.
The track team list reads as expected, after Jess Varnish was ousted after she made complaints around British Cycling and its culture. The Sprint places go to Becky James and Katy Marchant with James also riding the Keirin. Britain didn’t qualify a Team Sprint place, which represented much of Varnish’s original complaints.
On the endurance side of the velodrome programme, double 2012 gold medallist Laura Trott will ride the women’s omnium, and will be joined by the strong Team Pursuit squad of Katie Archibald, Joanna Rowsell Shand, Elinor Barker and Ciara Horne.
The women’s road race team will consist of Lizzie Armitstead, Nikki Harris and Emma Pooley. Armitstead was a given and rides on the same trade team as Harris who has shown strong form this year. Pooley will also ride the time trial and was tempted out of retirement by the hilly Rio course which suits her as a rider.
However, there has been criticism of the process, adding to the fire that burned after Varnish made her allegations – to much support. Olympic gold medalist on the track in 2012 Dani King put her eggs in the road basket this year, hopeful of selection to support Armitstead. She’s said she feels the process has been unfair, highlighting her results this year and adding: “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.”
King has received high praise and support on social media and as she points out, has place in the top ten nine times this year, and top 20 ten times – whilst working for her trade team Wiggle High5.
Pooley rode in the British National time trial yesterday and finished fourth, a minute behind defending champion and relatively recent convert to cycling, Hayley Simmonds who we will be interviewing this afternoon. However, the Rio course includes significant climbs and Pooley is still approaching peak form and re-signed with her former trade team Lotto-Soudal this week.
We’re admittedly heartbroken for those who didn’t make the list, but chuffed to bits for those who did. With regard to British Cycling’s internal practices where it comes to development and athlete support, we’re just hopeful that a good and honest review is taking place.
Want to see the kit the team will be wearing? More here..