The UCI Track Cycling World Cup will offer a new challenge to Great Britain’s Elinor Barker, according to Welsh Cycling head coach Darren Tudor.
Barker, recently crowned junior women’s world time-trial champion in Limburg, will compete in the three part series for Team SWI – a new trade team set up by Welsh Cycling to develop young talent - with the first event in Colombia this weekend.
The 18-year-old, part of British Cycling’s Olympic Development Programme, also won two silver medals and one bronze at this year’s UCI Juniors Track World Championships in Auckland, New Zealand.
Along with another British Cycling programme athlete, Amy Roberts, Barker will make the ascent into senior competition with Ciara Horne and Jon Mould.
“The Track World Cups will bring a new challenge for Elinor, which she will embrace,” Tudor said.
“There are longer race distances at senior level, which means Elinor will have to adjust her race technique and learn new tactics as a senior cyclist. Taking these younger riders to track world cups so early on in their career enables them to develop and learn to prepare them for international competition, with Glasgow 2014 being the main aim for Team SWI Welsh Cycling.
“Elinor has been going well this year; hopefully she can surprise a few people this season.”
“The Track World Cups will bring a new challenge for Elinor, which she will embrace. Elinor has been going well this year; hopefully she can surprise a few people this season.”
Welsh Cycling head coach Darren Tudor
Barker has produced a series of impressive results in 2012, with gold in the individual pursuit and bronze in the team pursuit at the U23/Junior European Track Championships in Portugal before her exploits at the junior track world championships. She then bettered her silver medal from the 2011 road world championships with a commanding display in Limburg.
Tudor pointed out that her aim for Cali, however, will be performance and not results based in what will be her world cup debut.
“Cali is all about the learning process and understanding the race as a team,” Tudor said. “We are not expecting to return with medals - it isn’t about the final finish position, but how we get there and what the team learns throughout the race.
“In the team pursuit, if we do a sub 3:28, that would be a great result for us. However, Mexico is the big focus this year and Cali is the first stop of the season.”
Amy Roberts, a double world junior track championship medallist in the team pursuit and points race, is appreciative of the chance to race in an elite international competition.
“This is a massive opportunity as I am still quite young, and I have not done a big race like this before at senior level. I’m looking to gain experience and there will be a lot of things to learn this year. Not many people get the chance to compete at world cups this early in their career, so it is a fantastic opportunity.”