Harrison wants to cement team pursuit place ahead of Commonwealth Games

Harrison wants to cement team pursuit place ahead of Commonwealth Games

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Sam Harrison will make a regular spot in Great Britain’s team pursuit squad and a Commonwealth Games medal his main goals over the next 18 months.

The Welshman won silver in the four-man event at February’s track world championships in Belarus with Andy Tennant, Ed Clancy and Steven Burke.

It was the 20-year-old’s second world championship medal having claimed bronze in the same discipline in 2010 and he is now aiming to consolidate his position in the line-up as the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games nears.

“The world championships are a good place to start but I want to keep building on that experience towards the Commonwealth Games next year,” Harrison, a British Cycling Olympic Academy Programme rider, said.

“I was pleased with it [the performance]. They analyse the performances afterwards and I think the qualifiers went really well and I played my role in the team and tried not to make any mistakes.

“In the final, as a team we were all over the place. It didn’t go to plan. But personally I was happy with the way I rode.

“I’m looking forward to every world championships, every major competition and want to stamp my authority on my position.”

In Glasgow next July, Harrison will don the colours of Wales and not Great Britain, as he did in India as an 18-year-old having competed in Delhi in 2010.

There he contested the individual and team pursuit disciplines plus the points and scratch races but left without a medal.

"I want to make a name for myself in the team, and stamp my authority on a place in the team pursuit squad in the years to come."

Sam Harrison

While he insists the track represents his best opportunity of a podium spot next summer, Harrison, who rides for 100% ME, is adamant he can perform a supporting role on the road if required.

“I think track will be my main focus at the Commonwealth Games next year,” Harrison clarified.

“I went in 2010 to Delhi, and was just 18 and it went reasonably well. But this time I want to get a medal in a track event, but I quite like the road too. If I was able, I’d like to ride in a supporting role on the road.

“There are a lot of decent road riders now, like Geraint Thomas and Luke Rowe who could be potential medallists. In a personal sense, my big goals will be on the track.”

Thomas and Rowe are both with UCI WorldTour outfit Team Sky, the former having won two Olympic gold medals on the track in the team pursuit.

Forging a career on the road is of interest to Harrison in the long-term, but in order to fulfil his track aspirations it is something that he has placed on hold.

“I’ve still not achieved my goals on the track, so I won’t think about that just yet,” Harrison said.

“If all goes well, and in four years’ time I’ve won an Olympic medal and a few more world championship medals, it’s something I will take into consideration.

“It’s definitely something I want to pursue in the future. Team pursuit has become quite specialist in the technique and performance, you have to really commit in the winter, and not go between road and track. It’s definitely something I will consider in the future.”

Harrison will be based on the road this summer, competing in the UCI U23 Nations' Cup on the continent and in the Premier Calendar domestically with hopes of making the Great Britain team for September’s road world championships.

Last year Harrison recorded 39th in the under-23 men’s time-trial in Limburg and would relish a return to the event, held this year in Florence, Italy.

“I’ll be on the road in a few under 23 races throughout the season,” Harrison commented.

“I always set myself targets in various road races each season. If there is a time trial in a stage race, I will have that as my focus. I went to the road worlds and European road championships in 2012, and would like to get the opportunity again this year. I will definitely be aiming for a few time-trials this year.

“Next winter, I will hit the track hard again and start building where I left off at the world track championships and hopefully get stronger. I want to make a name for myself in the team and stamp my authority on a place in the team pursuit squad in the years to come.”

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