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Joanna Rowsell Shand

Team Pursuit

Based
Manchester

From
Cheam, Surrey

Date of birth
05/12/1988

Team
Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International

One of the best domestic British road riders of her generation, Joanna Rowsell Shand has also been a dominant figure in the world of track racing, particularly in the team pursuit.

Four gold medals in the team event at UCI Track Cycling World Championships and gold medals at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, when she was part of a Great Britain team that broke the world record on all six of its rides over the two Games, are among the highlights of her successes to date.

Meanwhile, her performances on the road with the Podium Ambition Pro Cycling team ensured she has remained one of Britain’s most high-profile and popular female athletes.

Career in numbers

2

Total Olympic medals

1

Total Commonwealth Games medals

8

Total UCI Track Cycling World Championships medals

4

Total UEC European Track Championships medals

Biography

Rowsell Shand was first spotted by the British Cycling Apprentice Programme after being tested at her school in Surrey and, inspired by that year’s Athens Olympic Games, decided to pursue a career in the sport.

Success in the junior ranks, particularly on the track, in 2005 and 2006 led to her being signed to her first professional contract, by Global Racing, in 2007, a season which saw Rowsell Shand win bronze medals in the individual pursuit and points race at the British National Track Championships and second in the British National Circuit Race Championships.

The 2008 campaign saw Rowsell Shand ride alongside Olympic gold medallist Nicole Cooke for the Team Halfords Bikehut team in a year which proved a breakout season for the rider.

Highlights included winning the under-23 British National Road Race Championship, team pursuit gold medals at two UCI Track Cycling World Cup meetings, a world cup gold in in the individual pursuit and, above all, her first UCI Track Cycling World Championship gold when she joined with Wendy Houvenaghel and Rebecca Romero in beating the Ukraine in a world record time.

The Great Britain women successfully defended that world title, in Pruszkow, Poland, a year later with further team pursuit golds coming in that year’s UCI Track Cycling World Cup events in Copenhagen and Manchester and, while the British were beaten by Australia into silver at the 2010 UCI Track Cycling World Championships, Rowsell Shand would be part of the home team that gained revenge at the London Olympic Games.

First, late in 2011, Rowsell Shand won her first UEC European Track Championships gold, with Trott and King, in Apeldoorn, Netherlands, a performance which, along with a gold in the UCI Track Cycling World Cup Manchester and strong showings at the British National Track Championships, helped push her into serious contention for the Olympics.

Rowsell Shand’s double gold in the UCI Track Cycling World Cup London in February - adding individual to team pursuit - led her to the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Melbourne, where she joined her by-now regular team mates Trott and King in setting a new world record and winning her third world title.

The London Olympics were a story of similar domination by the British trio, which set world records on all three of their rides, ending with a time of 3:14.051 in their final victory over the USA.

After a brief break from track racing in 2013, during which she suffered a broken collar bone and won the British National Time Trial Championship, Rowsell Shand returned to the boards at the 2013 UEC European Track Championships in Apeldoorn, winning gold at the new four-rider, four-kilometre team pursuit format.

The longer version of the event clearly suited the British, with the team winning golds at the opening 2013-14 UCI Track Cycling World Cup meetings in Manchester and Aguascalientes, Mexico, and carrying that form into the 2014 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Cali, Colombia where Rowsell Shand was crowned a world champions for the fourth time, adding gold in the individual pursuit for good measure.

In that productive 2014, Rowsell Shand also won gold, riding for England, at the individual pursuit at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games before ending the year with team pursuit gold in the UEC European Track Championship on the outdoor track in Guadeloupe, the French Caribbean island.

That year also ended with the rider announcing she would leave her Wiggle-Honda road team having signed a two-year contract with Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International, the precursor of the Podium Ambition Pro Cycling team.

GREAT BRITAIN CYCLING TEAM KIT

Great Britain Cycling Team kit

Joanna Rowsell Shand
Joanna Rowsell Shand

New challenges

The 2015 and 2016 track seasons would present new challenges for Rowsell Shand and the team pursuit squad, however, and at the 2015 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Paris, Great Britain were beaten for the first time at the four-kilometre distance, winning silver behind Australia’s new world record time.

A gold at the UEC European Track Championships was some consolation and there was an extraordinary bronze medal at the opening round of the 2015-16 UCI Track Cycling World Cup series in Cali when the trio of Rowsell Shand, Katie Archibald and Ciara Horne defeated the four Chinese riders despite Elinor Barker having immediately withdrawn on the opening lap due to illness.

The 2016 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in London showed there was still work for the British women to do ahead of the Rio Olympics, however, after a poorly-paced qualifying ride saw them finish only fifth although the team recovered well to win bronze.

Away from the bike

Rowsell Shand studied biology, physics and maths A-levels at Nonsuch High School for Girls in Surrey and planned on studying natural sciences at university before being spotted by British Cycling, at the relatively advanced age of 15.

Since the age of 10, Rowsell has had alopecia, resulting in hair loss and the rider often talks about the issue in a bid to raise awareness and help other youngsters with the condition.

Formerly known as Rowsell, she married former cyclist, Daniel Shand in July 2015 and has since competed as Joanna Rowsell Shand, while younger brother Erick, is also a successful professional road cyclist. 

Joanna Rowsell Shand
Joanna Rowsell Shand
Joanna Rowsell Shand
Joanna Rowsell Shand
Joanna Rowsell Shand

Palmarès

2016
UCI Track Cycling World Championships, London (UK) Team pusuit Bronze
UCI Track Cycling World Cup, Hong Kong Team pursuit Silver
Olympic Games, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) Team pursuit Gold
2015
UCI Track Cycling World Championships, Paris (France) Team pursuit Silver
UEC European Track Championships, Grenchen (Switzerland) Team pursuit Gold
UCI Track Cycling World Cup, Cali (Colombia) Team pursuit Bronze
2014
UCI Track Cycling World Cup, London (UK) Team pursuit (qualifying rounds) Gold
UEC European Track Championships, Guadaloupe Team pursuit Gold
Commonwealth Games, Glasgow (UK) Individual pursuit Gold
UCI Track Cycling World Championships, Cali (Colombia) Team pursuit Gold
UCI Track Cycling World Championships, Cali (Colombia) Individual pursuit Gold
2013
UCI Track Cycling World Cup, Aguascalientes, Mexico Team pursuit Gold
UCI Track Cycling World Cup, Manchester (UK) Team pursuit, Gold
UCI Track Cycling World Cup, Manchester (UK) Individual pursuit Gold
UEC European Track Championships, Apeldoorn (Netherlands) Team pursuit Gold
2012
Olympic Games, London (UK) Team pursuit Gold
UCI Track Cycling World Championships, Melbourne (Australia) Team pursuit Gold
UCI Track Cycling World Cup, London (UK) Team pursuit, Gold
UCI Track Cycling World Cup, London (UK) Individual pursuit Gold
2011
UEC European Track Championships, Apeldoorn (Netherlands) Team pursuit Gold
UCI Track Cycling World Cup, Manchester (UK) Team pursuit Gold
2010
UCI Track Cycling World Championships, Copenhagen (Denmark) Team pursuit Silver
2009
UCI Track Cycling World Championships, Pruszkow (Poland) Team pursuit Gold
UCI Track Cycling World Cup, Melbourne (Australia) Team pursuit Silver
UCI Track Cycling World Cup, Manchester (UK) Team pursuit Gold
UCI Track Cycling World Cup, Copenhagen (Denmark) Team pursuit Gold
UCI Track Cycling World Cup, Copenhagen (Denmark) Individual pursuit Bronze
2008
UCI Track Cycling World Championships, Manchester (UK) Team pursuit Gold
UCI Track Cycling World Cup, Melbourne (Australia) Team pursuit Gold
UCI Track Cycling World Cup, Melbourne (Australia) Individual pursuit Gold
UCI Track Cycling World Cup, Manchester (UK) Team pursuit Gold
UCI Track Cycling World Cup, Manchester (UK) Individual pursuit Bronze