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Laura Trott & Dani King target team pursuit

Olympic medallists ani King and Laura Trott are aiming to defend their team pursuit title at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Minsk, Belarus from 20 to 24 February.

The British women’s pursuit team in full flight. Image courtesy British Cycling.

The pair will be joined by world junior time-trial champion Elinor Barker, who replaces Joanna Rowsell as she focuses on the road.

It will be the last time the event is run with three-woman teams over 3000 metres. Future women’s team pursuit races will follow the same format as the men’s event with four-rider teams over 4000 metres.

Dani King at the recent launch of the Wiggle-Honda road team

King says she wants to see the format off in style.

“We’re going to go out there and ride the fastest we can,” says King. “We need to go out with a bang to say goodbye to the three-kilometre and three-woman event.”

Trott may be prioritising a defence of the team pursuit crown, but she also wants to make it back-to-back omnium wins on the world championship stage after her success in Melbourne last year.

“I obviously want to retain them both,” said Trott, who has won her last three outings in the omnium at Melbourne, London and Glasgow respectively.

“Team pursuit is still my main focus so we will get that one in the bag first hopefully and then that might spur me on to win the omnium.”

Great Britain’s women have dominated the team pursuit since its introduction at the 2008 championships. They have failed to take the title just once, when Australia won in Denmark in 2010, and memorably took Olympic gold in London.

“Since it came into the Olympic programme, we have only not won it once,” Trott says. “That’s pretty amazing. It’ll be nice for people to say ‘we dominated’.

“We don’t know how we are going to go in the four-kilometre, it just means Joanna Rowsell will come back into the team and then we have got four world class individual pursuiters in one team.”

Rowsell’s replacement, 18-year-old British Cycling Academy rider Elinor Barker, makes her second competitive appearance with King and Trott.

Laura Trott at the Wiggle-Honda launch

Gold with the pair at the Glasgow track world cup last November underlined the Welsh youngster’s credentials and Trott has been impressed with her new teammate.

“For a junior to step into an Olympic team, that’s massive and she has done it with no problem at all. She just gets better and better, the more efforts we do,” Trott enthused.

“Elinor just improves and improves, she’s doing amazingly. In a way I guess it’s easier to step into our team because there are only two of us.”

Dani King is confident, and similarly impressed with her new team-mate.

“We’ve got Elinor on the team now,”says King, “who is very young but has a really good future ahead of her – so it’s a different challenge.

“It went well (at the 2012 world cup) in Glasgow as a three and we’ve had more time together now. I’d love to think we could win.”

Nevertheless, she knows you can never rest on your laurels at this level.

“We never sit back and relax,” says King. “Even as world and Olympic champions, we can’t just think we’re the best. If anything, it makes me train even harder because I want to be in the team for every single race.

“I’m excited to go to four-kilometres and four women. It’ll be good to have a new challenge and that’s keeping me motivated after the Games.”

 

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