Published: 16 January 2013
Report: Scott Hobro
Team USN head coach Darren Tudor has challenged British Cycling Olympic Academy Programme riders Elinor Barker, Amy Roberts and George Atkins to seize their opportunity at the Aguascalientes, Mexico round of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup.
The trio, along with Jon Mould and Ciara Horne, make up the Welsh Cycling trade team for the event which starts on Thursday. The Great Britain Cycling Team has not sent a squad to the round which concludes the 2012-13 series.
Junior time-trial world champion Barker will compete in the team pursuit with Amy Roberts and Ciara Horne whilst Atkins will contest the Madison with Jon Mould after the pair became British champions earlier this month.
Barker is also being considered for the omnium and Roberts the points race although a final decision has yet to be made.
The squad was forced to withdraw its women’s team pursuit entry a the Glasgow round in November due to rider illness, though Barker was selected for Great Britain’s squad and went on to win gold alongside Laura Trott and Dani King.
Tudor, who is overseeing the team which has the aim of developing Welsh Cycling’s future stars with the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games nearing, is expecting further gains in performances as riders continue to adapt to elite international track cycling.
“In the team pursuit girls we’re looking for a gradual improvement between each track world cup this season, but with some of the team being ill prior to Glasgow we were unable to compete at round two,” Tudor said.
“However, Elinor Barker stepped up to compete with Great Britain in Glasgow and now we are looking for the team to reunite and perform well in Mexico after a good block of training over Christmas and the New Year in preparation for the competition.”
Tudor also expressed his belief that Atkins and Mould, who saw off the challenge of Team Sky’s Peter Kennaugh and Team BMC’s Adam Blythe to win their Madison title in Manchester, can make the podium in the Velodromo Bicentenario as Atkins makes his Team USN track world cup debut.
“Jon had good form at the recent Madison Championships where he won with George Atkins, and both will compete together in Mexico,” Tudor commented. “For Jon, Mexico provides more experience of racing at world level and to improve on his results.
“Jon and George will be looking for a podium finish as a result of their recent good form but also with a greater depth of competition at world level it will prove to be an exciting and interesting race. They will need to continue their good form, especially as Jon has two days of omnium before the Madison on the final day.”
The competition begins on Thursday 17 January with updates throughout the event on the British and Welsh Cycling websites.