Harrison: Competition for team pursuit spots will drive Great Britain forward

Harrison: Competition for team pursuit spots will drive Great Britain forward

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Sam Harrison believes the competition to get into Great Britain’s team pursuit squad will push riders to a higher level ahead of the Manchester UCI Track Cycling World Cup.

“I think we are at a good level, we’ve got six strong guys all pushing for places so that’s only going to bring the team on.”

Sam Harrison

The 21-year-old is one of five athletes who could ride in this weekend’s opening round of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup.

Olympic champions Ed Clancy and Steven Burke as well as Owain Doull and Andy Tennant complete the line-up. Nineteen-year-old Jon Dibben will race the omnium but has stated his ambition of securing a spot in the team event for the next year’s world championships in Colombia.

Harrison was part of the quartet that won silver at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships earlier this year alongside Ed Clancy, Andy Tennant and Steven Burke.

“There’s good competition at the minute,” Harrison said. “It’s going to be tough to get into the team to be honest.

“There are six of us, Ed and Burkey are almost guaranteed their spot as Olympic champions, they are really strong. I think the third and fourth places are really up for grabs but it is tight between all of us.

“Then again the competition strives you on and it makes everyone stronger so it’s a good situation to be in really.”

At the recent European championships, Harrison rode in the qualifying ride and was then replaced by Owain Doull as Great Britain beat Russia to win gold in 4:02.258.

But in Manchester a stronger field that includes Australia and New Zealand will make for a tougher competition. Harrison is aware of the threat posed but believes Great Britain will be in the medal hunt.

“I think the Euros were good,” Harrison said. “The Russians had their strongest team, a similar team to what they ran at the Olympics and that sort of thing so we’re not going to be far off.

“But you never know what the Australians are going to bring and Kiwis are going to bring and nations like that and even the Danes are progressing at the minute.

“I think we are at a good level, we’ve got six strong guys all pushing for places so that’s only going to bring the team on.”

Harrison hopes home advantage can help Britain’s athletes who are based at the National Cycling Centre. The venue last welcomed the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in 2011 as Sir Bradley Wiggins, Geraint Thomas, Clancy and Burke won gold in the men’s team pursuit.

“It’s always a really exciting prospect – racing in your home world cup on your home track,” Harrison said.

“It hasn’t got the same challenges that are brought along by the travelling events.We know the track, it’s where we go every day, where we ride every day, it’s a natural environment for us and with the home crowd it’s really exciting."

TRACK WORLDS 2016

Track Worlds 2016