Published: 23 September 2013
Words & interview: Simon Powers
Current world team pursuit champion Elinor Barker is fired up about riding in her rainbow stripes for the very first time in what could be a record breaking ride for the Wiggle Honda team at the British Cycling National Track Championships this week.
Nineteen- year-old Barker will join an already highly decorated team to include British Cycling Olympic Podium Programme riders and Olympic champions Joanna Rowsell, Laura Trott and Dani King.
“The preparations have all been going OK until I hurt my back,” she said. “However, training has been going really well, I only came up to Manchester to start working with the others a few weeks ago but the team is full of Olympic and world champions so I can’t see it going too badly to be honest.”
This is the first time that the race will be run over the new 4,000 metre distance at the championships after the event was brought into line with the men’s distance immediately after the 2013 world championships in Minsk, Belarus.
“It’ll be the first time we have ridden the 16 lap race so I think it will be different and will take a bit of getting used to.
“It’ll definitely seem like a very different event I think. However, it’s still team pursuit and still very much a similar event so I’m just going to go out and enjoy riding in the rainbow stripes for the very first time.”
With four such commanding forces in women’s team pursuing in what will be a relatively new twist to the event, there is a distinct possibility that a new world record could be set. This would be a first for the championships which has yet to witness an able bodied world record , despite a very close attempt by Graeme Obree in the 1996 championships.
Despite the obvious desire to set records which is inherent in any athlete, the Cardiff-born rider is focusing on learning the event and more importantly the team dynamic in what will almost certainly be the first of many rides together.
“A world record is a possibility but we aren’t really going for as time, just looking to go and do our first ride as a team of four and see how it goes really and in doing that, set a benchmark for our next ride,” she confirmed.
Barker will also compete in all the endurance events on offer over the five days of competition as well as in the 500 metre time trial. The latter, although not an endurance event in its own right, forms an important part of the omnium. As the final ride in the multi-event discipline, it is often where many medals and titles have been decided.
“The 500 isn’t my best event but I really enjoy it,” Barker commented. “Training’s been going well, I have been doing quite a bit of motor pacing stuff on the track in Newport which is good preparation for the bunch races so hopefully they will also go pretty well.”
The track nationals usually mark the start of the international track scene and the 2013/14 season is no exception. Three weeks later, the European Championships start in Apeldoorn in the Netherlands which will be closely followed by the return of the UCI Track World Cup to the boards of the home of British cycling at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester from 1 to 3 November.
“After the nationals, track Euros are on the horizon then the Manchester world cup just two weeks afterwards. I am really looking forward to the world cup in Manchester especially.”