Great Britain's Laura Trott is looking forward to returning to the scene of her senior international debut when she competes at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Cali, Colombia from 26 February to 2 March.
The 21-year-old from Harlow made her top-flight debut at Cali’s Velódromo Alcides Nieto Patiño at the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in 2010, when she won bronze in the team pursuit with Wendy Houvenaghel and Katie Colclough.
Since then, the rider and the event have taken a quantum leap forward, with Trott going on to become world champion in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and Olympic champion in 2012, while the event has evolved into a four-rider, four kilometre effort in line with the men’s discipline.
"I like Cali as a track,” said Trott. “The first-ever world cup that I did was actually on that track so it'll be nice to go back there and see whether it's changed."
Trott has been an integral part of the team pursuit squad since 2011, with the team growing in strength and depth around her.
Dani King and Joanna Rowsell, along with Trott, have become the mainstays of the squad, Elinor Barker coming on-board in 2012/13 and Katie Archibald joining the fray during the 2012/13 season.
Trott was excited about Archibald’s move into the squad and the internal competition it has brought with it.
"Katie Archibald hasn't been riding with us that long,” she said, “And she's just stepped straight up and into the team and just developed with us which has been really good.
“You continue to drive each other and push each other along. If there was four of you and you just had a guaranteed spot in the team then you'd just think 'I'm in it, it doesn't matter.'
“You don't push yourself to the limit every session whereas obviously we're fighting for spaces. Everybody wants to ride in that team.”
The team’s last competitive outing saw the squad slash their own world record with a 4:16.552 ride in Aguascalientes in December 2013.
With such a gulf between the Great Britain team’s performances and those of the rest of the world, much of the speculation pre-worlds is focussed on whether Trott et al can improve further on the world record set at altitude on Mexico. But there’s no complacency in the camp as Trott explained.
“I guess Canada in Mexico were quite close - the girls only qualified two-tenths quicker in that event. But obviously in the final they didn't back up very well. I think Canada will be our best rivals but we also haven't seen Australia's strongest line-up.”
Trott and her team pursuit cohort aren’t resting on their laurels and continue to seek constant improvements, an ethos that is intrinsic to coach Chris Newton’s approach.
"Chris isn't one to say 'yeah that was a really good race',” revealed Trott. “We'll always come off and look at what went wrong and what we could do better.”
Former world points race champion Newton is also a crucial factor in Trott’s second goal, the omnium world title she narrowly missed out on in Minsk.
Trott was hot favourite following her Olympic gold in the multi-event discipline, but was pipped to world championship gold by USA’s Sarah Hammer in 2013 so Newton’s knowledge of bunch race-craft is something Trott is keen to learn from.
“I want to be one of the best bunch racers and stop relying on my timed events,” said Trott.
"When we did the Revolution a couple of weeks back I did a points race and he (Newton) said that it was really good so to come off and hear that before the world champs is obviously a good feeling.
"Last year was a tough year, it's the one after the Games and you get people who've missed out on the Games coming through and obviously Sarah (Hammer) didn't win there so she used that as her opportunity to show that she still has got the form and that she still is number one.
"This year I feel like we've put in all the training, been on a lot of Majorca camps so hopefully it pays off."