World Cup Cali, Columbia

 

On the day that British Cycling announced their selection of the four riders (pictured below Wendy Houvenhaghel, Laura Trott and Dani King, plus Jo Rowsell) who will train for the Team Pursuit at London 2012, Laura Trott, one of the four named, talked to British Cycling about her experience of riding in Cali. 

 

GB Team Pursuit World Champions Laura Trott centre

 

She told them “I was riding better than I thought, but qualifying was tough.”   The velodrome in Columbia is unique in that while it is covered, the sides are open and the track can be windy, added to this are the challenges of racing at altitude as well.  Laura went on to say “Although I said I would race man three, I raced man one because I was the most experienced in the team. The race was at altitude and that made it too risky to put an inexperienced rider at the front; while the thin air makes it faster to start, that can mean you pay the price in the final kilometre – pacing was essential.

 

“Qualification was so windy we couldn’t even ride with a front disc wheel – the wind was so much we would be blown over the red line. With all that, I was relieved the team made the final – it wasn’t our A-team and I knew we put together better rides in training.”

 

Qualifying second to New Zealand, there was clearly a need for some changes and some confidence building before the gold medal ride off.

 

“When we stepped off of the track, everyone was talking about how New Zealand cruised to their time and I was worried we couldn’t win. But once we had sat down and seen the video, I knew they could only ride a second quicker. Next we made some changes to the way we raced.

 

“We adopted a different plan, we used an easier gear, we changed the length of the turns and we rode to a plan for six laps; the plan came good. In the final I saw we were leading, took my turn at the front and went flat out to the line.”

 

Laura also rode the omnium, meeting for the first time the two favourites Sarah Hammer, the ex-World Pursuit Champion from America and Tara Whitten of Canada, who is the current Omnium World Champion.  The omnium is made up of 6 events, raced over two days and in this round of the world cup, it was the points race which proved critical to Laura’s bronze medal success

 

“In the points I had a plan, because of the altitude I would miss the first two sprints, then start racing, but Paul told me to keep an eye on Tara Whitten and Sarah Hammer.

 

“He told me once they attacked it would be almost impossible to chase down – and they attacked just after the second sprint and got a gap straight away. I was at the back when they got clear and I couldn’t get on so I had to go on my own. I was joined by a Mexican girl but it took forever and there were several times when I thought I wouldn’t make it.

 

“Eventually I got round, it was the first ever time I have taken a lap at elite level and it was so hard, by the time I got back on I was seeing stars; but getting that lap was the difference between reaching and missing the podium.”

 

Laura eventually finished 4th in the pursuit and added this to 5th in the flying lap and 11th in the elimination race on day one.  Day two say her win the 500m TT, after taking third place in the pursuit and 5th in the scratch which was good enough for the bronze medal behind winner Sarah Hammer and silver medallist Tara Whitten.

 

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