Published: 10 July 2014
Written by: Eddie Allen
Great Britain’s Emily Kay will target the bunch races when she makes her UEC Junior and Under-23 European Track Championships debut in Portugal from 22-27 July.
Kay will make her debut on the track in the under-23 category and will be the sole British woman in the endurance class.
And while she aims to compete in all the individual endurance events, the points, scratch and omnium races will be the junior world champion’s key goals.
The 18-year-old missed the 2013 European championships due to preparations for the junior worlds in Glasgow, where she won gold in the team pursuit and bronze in the omnium.
The Bromsgrove-born rider shot to prominence on the track as a youth in the Revolution Future Stars, dominating the competition thanks to her devastating sprint and tactical prowess in the bunch races.
Fast forward to 2014 and Kay will draw on these abilities again at the Sangalhos National Velodrome in Anadia.
“I'm going to be targeting the scratch and points this time,” said Kay, whose road focus for much of the summer hasn’t afforded her the time to prepare fully for the timed events.
"I had the Women's Tour and I spent a lot of time on the road,” she said. “I crashed out of that so I don't think pursuit-wise I've had the specific training I'd need to target those events.
“I think I'm in a better position to go for the scratch and points and really give those a go.”
Kay’s move from the junior to the under-23 ranks is already underway having recently returned from a UCI track event in Poland, giving her time to adapt to the increased demands of senior competition.
"I think as an under-23 the field is a lot stronger so you can't just look out for one or two people,” she said. “A lot more people are trying to get off the front and take laps.
"It's definitely different and I'm having to adapt the way I race but it's a lot better and I'm pleased with where I am at the moment.”
After an unexpected bronze medal in the junior worlds omnium in Glasgow, Kay is looking forward to riding the omnium in Portugal in its new-look format.
Following UCI changes in June, the event has been completely overhauled, with the order of events changed.
The points race is now the final event and points scored in the event count towards the overall total, skewing the event in the favour of bunch racers like Kay and making for a thrilling finale.
“I'll be racing the omnium which is at the end of the championships so I think it will be good for me to have a go at them and see how I come on,” said Kay who was positive about the new look omnium.
“I think it changes it completely because before if you did one of the timed events and you were there or thereabouts, in the bunch races you could kind of get away with it,” she said.
“This time if you get to the points race in a good position and have a really good points race - it's a totally different type of racing now and it is an advantage for someone who is a bunch racer.
"The new format suits me a bit better than then old format really."
After Women’s Tour and the national road championships Kay has turned her focus back to the track and has been training alongside the Welsh Commonwealth Games squad in Newport, with some clear development goals in mind for Portugal.
"It's been quite a tough year for me and taking that step up from being a junior to an under-23 is quite a big jump so I think it is for me about experience,” she said. “Racing some older girls. Having a go at the new omnium format.
"Obviously my goal is to try to medal but it is about experience.
"If I do move up and I get to go to world championships or big events like that I've got some experience under my belt to help me deal with those situations."