Laura Kenny will race for the first time in more than a year after she was selected for the Track World Championships in Apeldoorn later this month. Kenny has not competed since the national championships at the end of 2016 and had a baby with husband and fellow track racer Jason Kenny just over five months ago.
Kenny won her first of seven world titles on the Apeldoorn track in 2011 but, despite getting back into training a month after giving birth, she is not putting too much pressure on herself.
"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," explained Kenny. "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."
Kenny, who became Britain's most decorated female Olympian when she won gold in the Team Pursuit and the Omnium at the Rio Olympics in 2016, is part of a six-woman endurance squad for the Great Britain team. Joining her will be two of her teammates from that Team Pursuit-winning line-up, Elinor Barker and Katie Archibald. The third, Joanna Rowsell-Shand, announced her retirement last year.
Barker and Archibald were among the few Olympians to compete for Great Britain at last year’s Worlds in Hong Kong, with Barker taking the Points Race world title and Archibald the Omnium. Barker also took silver in the Scratch Race and in the Madison with Emily Nelson, who has also been named in this year's squad. Ellie Dickinson and Emily Kay complete the line-up.
There will be plenty of attention on how the women's sprint squad fares after they famously missed selection for the Team Sprint at the Olympic Games in 2016. The fall-out of that disappointment led to the dismissal of Jess Varnish from the British team. She later made accusations of sexism and bullying against Shane Sutton, who eventually stood down from his post as the technical director. Becky James, who went on to silver in the Individual Sprint and the Keirin in Rio, decided to retire last year.
Britain didn't field a women's Team Sprint squad last year, with Katy Marchant their only entrant for Hong Kong. She returns this year, hoping to make another step forward in her development, with junior sprint world champion Lauren Bate moving into the elite squad.
Jason Kenny will headline the six-strong men's sprint squad along with Phil Hindes and Callum Skinner. He made his first appearance since the Rio 2016 Olympics at the national championships last month, taking the team sprint title with Hindes, Jack Carlin, Ryan Owens and Matthew Taggart. The 20-year-old Carlin has earned selection, as has Owens, but Taggart is not part of the squad heading to the Netherlands. Joe Truman takes the final spot.
Herald Sun Tour prologue winner, Ed Clancy is the team’s big hitter in the men’s endurance line-up, with Great Britain opting for a relatively young line-up. There is no Andy Tennant or Stephen Burke, though Kian Emadi, Mark Stewart, Ollie Wood and Chris Latham have all been named. Academy rider Ethan Hayter will make his elite debut while non-academy riders Dan Bigham and Charlie Tanfield have been given an opportunity to compete.