Published: 19 February 2013
Report: Luke Webber
Video: Simon Powers
Elinor Barker has revealed her opportunity to represent Britain at the track world championships occurred a year sooner than expected.
The 18-year-old British Cycling Olympic Academy Programme athlete will race the team pursuit in Minsk, Belarus this week.
Barker’s world championship debut comes after a successful rookie world cup season. In her first senior competition, Barker competed for Wales' Team SWI WC (now Team USN) alongside Amy Roberts and Ciara Horne to earn silver in the first round of the UCI Track World Cup in Colombia.
Barker then stepped up and impressed in Scotland alongside Olympic champions Dani King and Laura Trott to win the Glasgow world cup.
She then competed in the final World Cup in Mexico with Team USN where the Welsh trio of Barker, Roberts and Horne earned bronze in the Team Pursuit.
Since, Barker has been training at Manchester’s National Cycling Centre, where she spoke about the opportunity to take a break from education and experience life as a full-time athlete.
“It’s absolutely brilliant, I’m so lucky to have that experience, it’s something that not that many people get at all and I can’t believe it’s happened to me,” Barker enthused.
“The amount that I’m learning and the experience I’m getting it’s unbelievable.”
Barker is the latest product of British Cycling’s performance programmes, but will be the last to ride the three-woman, three kilometre team pursuit.
Next season, the Olympic distance will match the men’s event with one athlete and one kilometre added – and Barker notes she is one of several athletes who could challenge for the Rio 2016 squad.
“There’s a lot of young riders like me coming up” she noted.
“Joanna Rowsell is going to come back, a teammate that I did the (Mexico) world cup with, Ciara Horne, is dead strong and she’ll be riding with us next year hopefully. Amy Roberts who I rode with as a junior, possibly even Lucy Garner, she does a good team pursuit, so there’s loads of people.
“It’s good for equality in the sport that we’ll be doing the same distance and the same number of riders will get to ride as in the men’s.”