Barker eyes road world championships team time-trial spot

Barker eyes road world championships team time-trial spot

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Newly crowned world champion Elinor Barker has set her sights on a spot in the team time-trial at this year’s UCI Road World Championships.

The 18-year-old admits that making the Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling Team’s six rider line-up for September’s event in Florence will be a difficult task but would thrive on the chance to add to her growing medal collection in Italy.

Barker, who has come through the British Cycling Olympic Programme, won her second senior gold medal for Great Britain in the team pursuit at last week’s track cycling world championships alongside Wiggle teammates Laura Trott and Dani King.

And the ambitious rider, who also won the junior world time-trial title at last year’s road world championships in Limburg, has quickly turned her attentions to a fresh challenge.

"I'd love to get selected for the team time-trial and the thought of racing for Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling in the world championships really excites me,” Barker, from Cardiff, said.

“However we have a lot of girls in the team who are very talented in that area so I will have a lot of competition just to get into the team. It would be great for the team to take home some medals from Italy.”

Barker will start her road season at the EPZ Omloop van Borsele on 19 April with an individual time-trial followed by a 120-kilometre road race on the following day.

She concedes that turning out for Great Britain in the world championship road race in Tuscany is unlikely as she continues to develop as a bike rider in her first road season in the senior ranks.

With fellow Britons Laura Trott, Dani King, Joanna Rowsell and Amy Roberts also part of the Wiggle Honda setup and the team ‘endeavouring to compete in some of the international teams time trials to test out teams’, a British dominated line-up for the team time-trial is a possibility, but one which Barker thinks is unlikely given the abundance of international quality within the new outfit.

“I’m aware that we’ve got some really talented time trial riders, Emily Collins from New Zealand I’ve heard is really, really talented at time trials so I’d be excited to ride with her,” Barker said.

“Having the whole team being British would be exciting but it’s almost as though that’s not the point of it – we’ll race as our team. Whoever is the best rider is who I’d like to see going there really.

"I think the time trial is something I can train for myself specifically and to have a good crack at that would be really good.”

Elinor Barker

“I don’t think I’ll be in the best position to do the road race [with Great Britain]. I will have been going to road races all summer but I won’t have done a full season and I don’t think I’ll have the experience yet or probably not even the fitness and endurance to perform at that level.

“But I think the time trial is something I can train for myself specifically and to have a good crack at that would be really good.”

A remarkable six months since her win in the Netherlands has seen Barker propel herself into Great Britain’s team pursuit squad and with the event switching to four-woman format from next season, she is well placed to become an ever present in the team.

Her victory in Minsk combined with a debut win at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in last November's Glasgow UCI Track Cycling World Cup round gives Barker a 100% record in her succinct senior Great Britain career.

In the intervening time her focus will switch to the road. According to Barker continually finding new goals is and will continue to be a key factor in keeping herself motivated and ensuring she refrains from complacency moving forward.

“As a junior my whole ambition was to become world time-trial champion and I did that and then it was straight onto the track, so there’s no time to sit and think ‘I did this for me and I feel good, I can have a break now’,” Barker said.

“Instead it’s ‘what’s next? Let’s move on and smash that.’ I think that’s what’s happening now and I really like that way of thinking.

“I like to always have a goal to work towards otherwise you’re just riding your bike aimlessly. As much as I enjoy riding my bike, it’s nice to have it specific and working towards a goal.

“As soon as you’ve achieved one, what are you now working toward? You’ve got to come up with a new goal that you can motivate yourself to.”