Hannah Barnes of Canyon-SRAM looked set to be chosen as the second rider for Team GB’s Tokyo Olympics road race squad alongside Lizzie Deignan but as the team was announced on Monday, it was revealed that she was not selected.
Pre-Covid, Barnes travelled to Tokyo alongside Deignan to recce the course and looked set to be the favourite to accompany the Trek-Segafredo rider at the Games. However, the 28-year-old revealed that she is not surprised at missing out on Olympic selection, having known for a few months that she wouldn’t be picked.
“I've had an injury this year,” Barnes told Cyclingnews, “that's not been the best timing to have an injury and a couple of root canals as well that have fallen in the wrong place.”
Like many domestiques, Barnes may also have been overlooked due to not being able to ride for herself: “It's also hard when your job that you're getting paid for is to ride for your teammates,” she added, “so it's hard to also show yourself I guess...A lot of the races this year actually, I've done my job. I felt like I did a really good job, but the cameras only just turned on as I finished my job.”
Barnes reiterated, however, that her current form is not enough to warrant a ride at the Tokyo games. “For selection to go to the Olympics you need to be the best you can be and you need to deserve that spot, and this year I just didn’t," she said.
Anna Shackley, 20, who is a neo-pro at SD Worx, will take the second of GB’s two places for the women’s road events. Shackley will also compete in the time trial.
“She's strong,” Barnes said. “I've raced with her quite a few times this year. And especially on that course that Tokyo is, it's a course that she can do well in. She's young, but I think the opportunity is huge. And I'm sure she'll make a huge impact on the race.”
Deignan will be Britain’s best chance at a medal in the race, despite her compatriot having had a rough start to the season with illness, Barnes is confident in her ability to perform.
“I’ll always trust Lizzie on what she's doing,” Barnes said. “She knows how to target races, she knows how to come into those races ready to go and I believe that she'll go into that race having prepared how she needed to and have everything right to be there in the best shape she can be.”
For Barnes, her next race will be La Course this Saturday, June 26, followed by the Giro d’Italia Donne held from July 2-11.
”I've had a few weeks off now. So it will be good to get out there and race again,” she said, adding that she has been working on heat acclimatization ahead of the Giro.
“I've been doing a lot of different preparations but the main ones being heat acclimatization, but I've been living in 40 degrees for the last week, so that's helped...I've just been doing hot baths and trying to go out at the Giro start times. Just so it's not a huge shock for when I get there in 10 days time.”
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