World and Olympic team pursuit champion Dani King has revealed her excitement at riding two individual events at the forthcoming UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Guadalajara.
King confirmed that she will contest the omnium and the scratch race, although team pursuit will remain her long-term focus.
The 23-year-old was speaking ahead of the final round of the 2013/14 series, which sees back-to-back Mexican rounds, following round two in Aguascalientes.
Round two saw King and her team pursuit cohort carve further time off their ever plummeting four-kilometre team pursuit world record, with an altitude assisted time of 4:16.552.
King is the only female endurance rider taking the trip to Mexico with Great Britain not contesting the team pursuit, having already secured enough points to qualify the squad for the world championships.
With the team pursuit on ice for the moment, the Southampton-based rider is looking forward to focussing on the omnium and the scratch race at Guadalajara’s Velodromo Panamericano.
King has ridden the scratch race a number of times in the past few world cup seasons, however the omnium is unfamiliar ground and the established territory of teammate Laura Trott.
“Clearly Laura is the best in the world at the event but I like to keep her on her toes,” joked King. Trott is Olympic champion and world silver medallist in the six-event discipline and currently leads the world cup standings.
“I really enjoy bunch racing,” King continued, “so it’ll be a great opportunity for me to go out there and see what I can do really.”
With King competing in an event which has been utterly dominated by Trott, comparisons are inevitable.
With Trott’s strengths in the flying lap, 500 metre time trial and the elimination race self-evident, King can potentially give the Great Britain squad another card to play in the discipline.
“I’d say we’re pretty similar riders to be honest,” said King. “We’re both quite fast endurance riders so I guess the flying lap and the scratch race are my two strongest events although I’ve been working quite hard on my points race as well.”
However, King concedes that in the omnium, consistent strength across all six sub-disciplines is key to success.
World champion King will be riding solo in Mexico
“I wouldn’t say there’s a particular event that I’d say ‘yeah that’s my event’. I guess with the omnium it’s key to be strong over the six events. Laura’s an absolutely incredible omnium rider so it’s going to be hard to step up to her standard.”
King’s run-up to the event has since round two has seen her spend time in Majorca, focussing on long endurance efforts before a block of specific training on the turbo over Christmas.
The rider’s return to the track at the Revolution in Manchester on 4 January however was marked by a dramatic crash.
“It was in the scratch race with about ten laps to go,” explained King. The Spanish girl just flicked and touched wheels in front of me and I literally had nowhere to go and went straight over the bars.”
King hopes that the incident has not resulted in any long term injury that will threaten her performance in both Guadalajara and the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in February. After Mexico, King’s thoughts will return back to the event that has made her a household name – the team pursuit, where competition for places is more competitive than ever.
“Obviously the team pursuit at the worlds is my main focus and I’ll be hoping to be on that start line in good form,” said King.
“It’s really competitive, I never become complacent at all. It keeps us all on our toes.
“There’s a good squad based in Wales – the (Team) USN girls – and obviously Elinor [Barker] and Katie [Archibald] have stepped up into our team so I think it’s a really good thing and it can only make us go faster.”
When asked if there was a chance for her to have a tilt at the omnium at the world championships, the 23-year-old was realistic about her chances in light of Trott’s current stellar form.
“No to be honest, not unless Laura is injured or ill. Long term maybe but at the moment I’m focussed on the team pursuit and omnium’s just a bonus if I get the chance to ride.”
The final round of the 2013/14 UCI Track Cycling World Cup begins on 17 January with reports, results and reaction on the British Cycling website.