Published: 31 October 2013
By Eddie Allen
Video: Simon Powers
Great Britain’s Laura Trott is hopeful about her chances in the omnium and team pursuit ahead of the Manchester UCI Track Cycling World Cup.
The opening round of the 2013/14 UCI Track Cycling World Cup will be the first time that the four rider Great Britain team pursuit squad will be benchmarked against the world’s best.
However, with gold and a world record in the event in Apeldoorn, along with an against-the-odds gold in the omnium, Trott is rightly confident ahead of Manchester.
“The Euros went really well for me. Obviously the omnium was a bit of a struggle to get through but I came away with gold,” said Trott, looking back on a campaign that looked to be dashed following a crash in the elimination race resulting in a gashed leg.
“My leg’s a lot better now,” said the 21-year-old British Cycling Olympic Podium Programme rider. “I had a few ups and downs last week and I had a few ups and downs at the Europeans. It feels a lot better now. It definitely feels like I’ve come back around.”
“A win’s a win I suppose, even though it was only by point four,” continued Trott, alluding to the fact that she and Kirsten Wilde of the Netherlands ended the omnium tied on points, with Trott awarded the gold after the sum of the timed events was calculated.
“To come here I’m just hoping that I can, I guess, repeat what I did,” said Trott. “Obviously it’s going to be a lot harder because you’ve got the Americans, the Australians and the Chinese here, which obviously makes the field a lot bigger and harder.”
The move from European to international competition marks a definite step up. While Trott is used to racing the omnium at the highest level, Manchester will be the first time that the four rider squad will be tested against the world’s best.
“This is going to be the hardest competition so far this year for us because Australia haven’t put a time on the board yet so it will be interesting to see what they do,” admitted Trott. “Obviously Canada and China have done a good time at their national championships so I definitely think it’s going to be a lot harder.
“We’ve been going fairly well in training and we’re running our fastest line-up at the minute so we’ll just have to see how it goes.”
The Great Britain squad of Laura Trott, Dani King, Joanna Rowsell, Elinor Barker and Katie Archibald are adjusting well to the nascent four-kilometre, four-rider format following a period of utter supremacy in the days of the three-rider, three kilometre women’s team pursuit.
Great Britain marked their competition debut in the new format at the British National Track Championships in September. Trott, King, Rowsell and Barker setting the world record benchmark time of 4:32:721 riding in Wiggle Honda colours.
The squad backed it up in the European championships in Apeldoorn a month later, Trott, King, Rowsell and Archibald posting 4:26.556 in their medal ride against Poland.
“I think we’ve adjusted to the four kilometre pretty well to be honest,” said Trott, who was initially dubious of the new format when interviewed ahead of the 2013 world championships. “When it comes to turn length you get an extra lap so it is technically easier. It’s just a bit further.”
The ease with which the squad has adapted is partly thanks to the tutelage of Chris Newton, who took over the role of women’s endurance coach from Paul Manning in May 2013. Trott was also keen to point out the potential of former points race world champion Newton to improve her omnium Achilles heel - bunch racing.
“For me personally he’s been doing a lot of work improving my bunch races which really helps in the omnium. That’s my fall-down, that’s what I’m not really good at. So hopefully he can continue to help me and drive me on.”
The final ingredient of potential success in Manchester is that elusive and intangible one; home advantage; both in terms of the vocal partisan crowd and the settling effect of competing at the team’s day-in-day-out training venue.
Of the Manchester venue Trott said: “We’re used to it, we don’t have to travel anywhere. We know exactly where to do the team pursuit changes which is obviously quite important. Things like the flying lap in the omnium, I will already know the line because I’ve done it quite a lot here.”
“I just love performing in front of a home crowd,” said Trott, who memorably won omnium and team pursuit gold at London 2012, riding to victory on a sonic bow wave of home support.
“It’s such a great feeling; you step into the velodrome and know that you’ve got the total support of everyone in there.
“They just shout so loud – how can you go slow when you’ve got that behind you?”