British Cycling Performance Director David Brailsford is aiming to have a women's team pursuit squad ready for the final Track World Cup round in Copenhagen, Denmark, next month. The plans come as the women's team pursuit world championship debut at this year's UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Manchester, England nears.
"There are more events to go for in the World Championships than there are in the Olympics," said Brailsford. "One of the new events is the women's team pursuit and that's really exciting. The British team are not only getting strength in depth but also strength in breadth across more disciplines than we have before."
British world class individual pursuiters Wendy Houvenaghel and Rebecca Romero are favourites for two of the three team pursuit places, while the remaining spots are still being decided. "We are doing some work on that at the moment," explained Brailsford: "We have got Lizzie Armistead, Rachel Heal and Jo Rowsell and we are doing some testing and training. We will decide the final team closer to the date.
"We are only taking five riders over to the Los Angeles World Cup," continued Brailsford about this weekend's World Cup round. "The journey back from L.A. takes the riders 5-10 days to get over and our plan was to look at the women's team pursuit in Copenhagen in preparation for the World's in Manchester in March. All being well we will debut in the women's team pursuit in Copenhagen."
The Russian team won the first ever World Cup women's team pursuit in Sydney last November with a time of 3.29.072, beating home team Australia into second spot. The Ukraine team, which included former double junior world champion Shulika Lyubov, won the second event in Beijing in December. The Dutch team has yet to enter the competition, but like Great Britain may be leaving it late with a good contingent of endurance riders to choose from – including former world road and cyclo-cross champion Marianne Vos, who won the scratch race in Beijing.