Double junior world champion Dannielle Khan has revealed her delight at being named in the Great Britain Cycling Team squad for the UCI Track Cycling World Cup.
The 18-year-old will make her debut in the competition in Guadalajara, Mexico in the team sprint with Victoria Williamson as well as contesting the individual sprint.
Khan was promoted to the British Cycling Olympic Academy Programme last year after collecting 500m time-trial and sprint titles at the UCI Juniors Track World Championships in Glasgow.
And the former short track speed skater is now motivated to make progression in the senior ranks.
“I'm just so excited. I never expected to be going to a world cup this soon,” Khan said.
“Obviously this is my senior world cup debut and I've only just turned senior after Christmas, so it's just a dream really to be able to step on to the big world stage and race against the best in the world, race the big girls, I can't wait.
“Since the worlds in August I feel like I have improved quite a bit. From when I moved up here being able to get access to the best coaching, the best training sessions and whatever I need really - off and on the bike - has really helped me.
“It's been a vital part to my improvement.”
Khan’s double at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome matched Becky James’ two golds from the 2009 championships, James picking up sprint and keirin crowns in Moscow.
Now a full-time athlete, Khan trains with the Welsh rider – who has become a double world champion at senior level – as well as Olympic champions such as Jason Kenny.
“It's crazy, during London 2012, I was sat at home watching these guys on the TV thinking 'wow',” Khan said.
“I was sort of mesmerised by what they achieved so sitting next to them in the track centre chatting to them, learning from them...they're my role models and heroes if you like so to be training with them and just being a part of that environment every day is just brilliant.”
Khan, currently completing her college education, added that she is enjoying her new life adjusting to life as a professional athlete.
“It is hard but it's so enjoyable and I love being a full-time athlete so it doesn't bother me, I knew it was going to be hard work when I stepped into this programme so I’m fully prepared,” she said.
Khan has honed her skills in the winter’s Revolution track series, winning the keirin event in rounds one and three at Manchester’s National Cycling Centre.
Racing alongside fellow Britons including James, Jess Varnish, Victoria Williamson and Katy Marchant in addition to elite international riders, Khan believes the experience has helped prepare her for Mexico.
“The Revolution is such a great event and I've done all three of them so far, two in Manchester and one in Glasgow and I've had some good results, it's been a strong field.
“I definitely think that's been a vital part of my preparation and it's helped me come a long way, getting to race world class riders.
“There are Olympic champion, European champions, world cup medallists riding so to be able to race against them and learn as much as possible has been a really big help.”