Two of Britain’s most successful Olympic champions, husband and wife duo Laura and Jason Kenny, will return to elite competition at the end of this month, representing the Great Britain Cycling Team at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands, from 28 February - 4 March.
Speaking of her selection, four-time Olympic gold medallist Laura Kenny, who will target the team pursuit in Apeldoorn, said: “I’m looking forward to getting back into the Great Britain skinsuit and racing at the world championships again. The last five months since Albie was born have been amazing and my life has changed a lot, but Jason and I are loving every minute of being parents. I returned to training about four months ago, and I’ve been really pleased and I guess a bit shocked by how fast my form has started to come back.
"Every time the team line up for a race we want to win and the worlds will be no different, but I’m not putting too much pressure on myself in Apeldoorn. I’m interested to see how the team pursuit get on with racing against the world’s best again. It is all made even sweeter by being on the track where I won my first elite world title too!”
Laura and six-time Olympic gold medallist Jason Kenny, who welcomed their first child in August 2017, are just two of seven Olympic champions named in the 22-strong team with Ed Clancy, Katie Archibald, Elinor Barker, Phil Hindes and Callum Skinner also making selection.
British Cycling’s senior academy riders Ethan Hayter and Lauren Bate are both set to make their elite world championship debuts, as are non-programme riders Dan Bigham and Charlie Tanfield who have shown significant progression over the 2017/18 world cup season, culminating in a world cup gold medal in the team pursuit for both riders and a world cup gold medal in the individual pursuit for Tanfield.
Performance director Stephen Park said: “Looking at the squad list for this year’s UCI Track Cycling World Championships, we have a really strong line-up of riders which should translate into some good performances by the Great Britain Cycling Team. The selection panel had some very tough decisions to make in selecting this team, but it’s a good problem to have and is testament to the strength in depth in British track cycling talent.
“There’s a lot to look forward to at this year’s competition, obviously seeing Laura and Jason’s return to the world stage will be a special occasion, they’ve both shown they are back on form during training sessions and I know they’re excited to be competing in this year’s world championships.
“I’m also looking forward to seeing Katie and Elinor racing to retain their rainbow jerseys in the omnium and the points race respectively. Both have enjoyed a successful world cup campaign in the build up to these world championships, winning nine medals between them, and it would be great to see them finish off their season with some more strong performances as they continue to build towards Tokyo 2020.
“With regards to the new riders joining the team for the first time, it will be interesting to see how our debutantes fare at world championship level. Dan and Charlie have made their mark on the track cycling scene this season and what they have achieved is commendable. I hope their efforts encourage others outside the centralised British Cycling system to follow their example. They are currently on a training camp in Mallorca with the men’s endurance squad and it’s a really exciting time for us to have an expanded pool of talent to select from.”
Charlie Tanfield said: “The team from KGF and I couldn't have asked for a better track season, we've already achieved our goals that we've set so I'd like to see how far I can take this at the world championships and the Commonwealth Games, if I'm selected. I'm currently putting in the last stint of work in Mallorca with the Great Britain squad and I would like to say a huge thanks to the team who are supporting me to prepare optimally. I'm going to learn so much from the experience and obviously going to feel so proud to wear the Great Britain kit in my first world championships.”
Great Britain Cycling Team for UCI Track Cycling World Championships, Apeldoorn