Great Britain’s Sarah Storey has spoken of the privilege of riding alongside two world champions as she prepares to stake her claim for a team pursuit spot at next year’s Olympics when she travels to the UCI Cali Track World Cup.
Storey, a multiple para-cycling world champion on both the road and track, will compete with current team pursuit world champions Laura Trott and Wendy Houvenaghel in Columbia in what she describes as an opportunity to see how the three work as a combination when qualifying begins on the 30 November.
The 34 year-old, who travelled to the European Championships but did not compete, will now look to take full advantage at the second round of the World Cup series.
“I think every opportunity to race is a good one; I’m relatively new and have had the least number of international rides in the team. It’s always good to get that opportunity to race and to race with two world champions is a huge privilege,” Storey said.
“It’s a good time to see where things are and just keep working as hard as I can. In a team event it’s about more than one person. This is a combination that hasn’t ridden together yet and it’s an opportunity for us all to see how that works. We’re all working as one unit to make sure that Great Britain has the best three riders on the line come London.”
If Storey was to compete in the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, she would become the first British athlete to achieve the feat, joining a select few in the history of sport. But for Storey it is a back story that she doesn’t pay too much attention to, preferring instead to focus on her performance and development in the immediate future.
“I don’t think about anything like that; I just think about the events I’ve got to do. There are other riders in the squad that have other events, I just try and make sure all those events are looked after, it’s about training to be the best athlete I can be and taking the events one at a time.
“I’m honoured to pull on the Great Britain jersey regardless, I’ve always said I’ve been proud to compete for Great Britain whoever I compete for and I’ve never really made a huge show it’s across two games; that’s a circumstance I can’t change. There is no team pursuit in the Paralympics and that’s a circumstance that’s out of my control.
“I’m just working on what I have as an engine and what I have as an athlete and trying to do that to the best events available within the two programmes.”
As a rider who has successfully managed the balancing act between road and track cycling - claiming the C5 road race and time trial titles at the 2011 UCI Para-Cycling Road World Championships in September after claiming gold in the 3km pursuit and 500m time trial at the 2011 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships - Storey firmly believes that training and competing in both disciplines can be to her advantage.
“I went to the Europeans before going on to starting the start the next phase of training and that works until the end of winter season. It’s a mixture of strength, power work, working on my start, keeping the road work ticking over, just a mixture of everything,” she explained.
“I find it really interesting that all the events I do have a complimentary aspect, which is ultimately why I am riding so many events. There is a crossover between them all and they all complement each other, it’s been good fun.”
Official broadcaster of the London 2012 Paralympic Games Channel 4 caught up with Sarah Storey to ask the pedal-pumping Paralympic champion for her top tips