Days after helping Great Britain to a gold medal in the women's team pursuit at the UCI Track World Cup event in Cali, Colombia, Sarah Storey has been informed that her dream of becoming the first British athlete to compete in both the Olympic Games and Paralympics has come to an end.
The 34-year-old was born without a left hand and has long competed in both able-bodied and para sport, having launched herself into the competitive arena by winning two golds, three silvers and a bronze at the 1992 Barcelona Paralympic Games as a 14-year-old and continued winning swimming medals in three more Paralympics before switching to cycling in 2005.
Storey revealed on her blog that she was informed by British Cycling upon arriving back in Manchester that she would no longer be a part of the selection squad for the London World Cup in February, the Track World Championships in Melbourne in April and the Olympic Games next summer.
"I collected my bags in Manchester and before heading home was told my performance in Cali was not as good as they [the selectors] were looking for and so this is the end of the journey for me with the Great Britain team pursuit team," Storey explained.
"I have always said that London 2012 is about riding as many events as I am good enough for and so now it is important for me to concentrate on the other events I have at the Games."
"I always said the Team Pursuit was another opportunity to become the best athlete I could be and it would be a bonus if I was able to make the event work alongside the events in which I am Para-cycling World Champion. As with any team event the squad has to work to get the fastest three riders on the start line in the Olympic final and in the eyes of the selectors I am not able to contribute to this process any longer."
Days earlier while in Cali, Storey had told Cyclingnews that defending her Paralympic gold medals earned in 2008 in Beijing - the individual pursuit and time trial titles - was the main priority for 2012.
"Obviously a home Games is what every athlete wishes for," said Storey. "We were fortunate in Manchester to take the Commonwealth Games in 2002. I was able to swim there and that was just an amazing experience. To have the entire world, not just the Commonwealth, come home and be in our venues and be on our home turf is going to be just sensational.
"I can't wait to see the whole world arrive and to fight it out for those medals. If I can get somewhere close to defending those titles I won in Beijing I'll be a happy girl. Anything else will be a huge bonus."
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