Olympic Test Event

 

The four women who will be fighting for the three places in the women’s team pursuit talk to British Cycling in advance of the Olympic test event.

 

 Women's Team Pursuit World Champions Wendy Houvehaghel, Laura Trott, Dani King

 

Does it feels like it all starts this week?

Wendy Houvenaghel

WH "Yeah, being in 2012 and having the Olympic test event in the next few days really does feel like we are starting this Olympic process for real."

 

How important is it to maintain winning form or to be able to accept any losses?

WH: "I think we will go into this competition fully prepared and we will ride to the best of our ability and produce a very good performance.  Whether that means the win or not is really not something that we're too concerned about at the moment, as we are focusing on a win in August."

 

 

Joanna Rowsell

JR: "Yeah, I think if we could pick one race to win, we'd all pick the Olympics. This is just a stepping stone on the way.  So obviously it's very important and it's going to be great to race on the Olympic track but it's not the number one priority."

 

Wendy, is this the strongest line-up you've ever worked with?

WH: "This is definitely the strongest four that I've ever ridden with and it bodes very well for the Games in August."

 

Have you continued to make progress in terms of times?

WH: Absolutely.  I think, because we are really quite a new group, there are gains to be made and we have making those gains in training very steadily, really since probably last February."

 

Danielle King

DK: "Yeah, I think for me as well, it's really exciting because I have come onto it so late but I'm making gains all the time and I'm seeing them all the time in training, which really drives me on to want to race and see what I can do on the day.  So, we're always improving, all of us, it's really exciting."

 

Women's Team Pursuit World Champions Wendy Houvehaghel, Laura Trott, Dani King in action 

 

Is there a target time for this weekend?

WH: "Not really."

 

Laura Trott

LT: "It's almost like the time's irrelevant. We're just going to go out as quickly as we can. If that gets the win, that gets the win."

 

DK: "It's the performance that we focus on, getting all the different steps right in terms of the ride itself and then the time will take care of itself, I think."

 

Last year, you said 3.15 would be needed for Olympics, do you feel that is that still the case?

WH: "I think the current record stands at 3.19, which we got very close to last February and those times will tumble over the next six months.  It remains to be seen whether that will be possible in the next few days but it'll be a great bonus if it is and not something that we would lose sleep about if it isn't."

 

So will 3.15 still be needed to win Olympics?

WH: "It's really hard to put a number on it, as conditions will change when we race in the summer, which will lend itself to faster times, but I think, at the moment, we'll be certainly trying to go faster than the 3.19, which is the current world record."

 

Is Team Pursuit the sole focus for all of you for the next six months?

LT: "Yeah, our main focus is team pursuit. Obviously, one of us is going to ride the omnium, but we're just training for team pursuit and the omnium comes off the back of that."

 

Are performances therefore improving quite a lot?

LT: "Yeah, definitely."

 

Do you do anything specific for the omnium?

DK and LT: "No."

DK: "It's completely off the back of team pursuit training but it seems to have worked quite well so far."

 

What about the tactical stuff, do you take as it comes?

LT: "Yeah. Obviously, we can watch what's happened before and obviously, we've got a lot of feedback, but, no, we don't train for it at all."

 

Does the Team Pursuit prepare you for the wide range of events you ride in the Omnium?

LT: "Yeah, kind of, because team pursuit is where you get your strength from because obviously you've got to go flat out for three minutes and it's almost like a sprint event because, when you're at the front, it's sprint for a lap, which is almost like a points race, because it's a sprint every 10 laps.

 

DK: "It definitely helps. I think there are loads of elements training for team pursuit. It's not just going round the track or on the road in Mallorca or in the gym. So I think it all helps for the omnium as well.  Like Laura said, the omnium's a mixture of sprint events and endurance events, and so is the team pursuit in that aspect, because it's all about getting off the start fast, which is obviously the sprint aspect and then it's being strong as well.”

 

Is there a lot of internal competition between yourselv, Laura and Dani for the omnium place?

LT: "Obviously, because we're sportspeople. We both want the spot but no hard feelings."

 

Which events do you find most unnatural in the omnium?

LT: "The elimination race, just because so many things happen all in one go.  The race is so hard anyway, so you can't let your mind slip, because everything's just happening so fast.  You have to concentrate every other lap and it's just like 'Arghh!'"

DK: "Definitely. The elimination or points, I'd say, because it's obviously the longest event and we're used to riding for just over three minutes."

 

Has Team Pursuit changed over the past few years since it was introduced to the Olympic Programme?

WH: "I think that because it's now on the Olympic programme, other teams have started to take it seriously, as have we, and we, as a team, have been doing a lot more training for team pursuit than ever before and that will help us to go faster as a unit.  I think that can only mean that the times will eventually be faster.  So whilst there hasn't been a great fall in the times since our first World Championship in 2008 - I think we won that in 3.22 - the times are definitely becoming faster and faster, and I think that's in keeping with the fact that the event is now on the Olympic programme and everyone's taking it seriously."

 

Have the tactics for the Team Pursuit changed?

WH: "I think that we are very strong at starting fast and more quickly than some of the other nations and with everyone's different attributes within the team, it makes for a very good performance."

 

 

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