Great Britain’s Kian Emadi is hopeful of staking a long-term claim for a team sprint spot at February’s track world championships.
The 20-year-old, in his third year on British Cycling’s Olympic Academy Programme, will compete in the man three role in the event – previously occupied by Sir Chris Hoy who is taking a break from the sport - with Olympic champions Jason Kenny and Philip Hindes filling the other two spots.
The selection gives Emadi, who was crowned British kilo champion at the Manchester Velodrome last September, an opportunity to end in style a season which has also seen him make his UCI Track Cycling World Cup debut, winning silver in the kilo in Colombia.
Coach Iain Dyer noted Emadi had ‘found good speed so he became our number one choice in that position’ after two-time Olympic team pursuit champion Ed Clancy had been considered for the discipline following a training period with the group and an outing at the Glasgow track world cup.
“Obviously it’s exciting to be selected and a big honour to go but at the end of the day it is another bike race,” Emadi, from Stoke-on-Trent, said.
“If you can apply the same sort of steps that you do in training and your usual racing then everything should sort of turn out alright.
"It’s always difficult to compare yourself to Jason because he is probably the best in the world."
“Chris [Hoy] has stepped down for a bit so they are looking for a replacement for the team for man three. That’s the position they are looking to fill, obviously it is big shoes to fill and Jason and Phil are the best in the world in their positions on their day so it’s going to be exciting but you just have to go for it and see what happens.”
In appearing at the Minsk Arena on the opening day of the competition, Emadi will emulate team sprint colleague Jason Kenny who also made his track world championships debut aged 20 back in 2008.
The Bolton-born rider, who came through the British Cycling system, is now a senior figure within the squad with three Olympic gold medals to his name despite being just 24. Whilst Emadi is cautious to draw comparisons, he is confident he is progressing in the right direction.
“The squad is quite young, Jason is the older rider on the team,” Emadi said. “It’s always difficult to compare yourself to Jason because he is probably the best in the world and he has always been very fast from an early age.
“If I can just put a solid lap in the team sprint together and then in the individual sprint improve some of the issues I have had in the past, put together all the things I have learned in training, it should be a good experience.
“The signs are there that I am going in the right direction. More time on the bike doing speed work should really bring that along,” Emadi said last week. “We’ve not quite done a full dry run, we’ve been doing bits and pieces. It’s going alright but I think the big hit outs will come later as we prepare for it.”
At last year’s championships in Melbourne, a disqualification for an illegal changeover saw Great Britain disqualified in the opening round. A medal this time around is an aspiration for Emadi, who will also contest the individual sprint, and would be the ideal denouement to an already progressive campaign.
“You never know until you get there on the race day but I think the big thing is to get on at the start and once you’re on it’s a matter of being efficient and patient and waiting for your turn.”