Barker has chance to stake Olympic claim

14 November 2012 / 07:40

Elinor Barker has an early opportunity to stake her claim to be part of the British Cycling team for the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games at this weekend's Track World Cup in Glasgow.

The first international competition at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, which begins on Friday, is about succession planning following another stellar showing at the London Olympic Games from Britain's cyclists.

Ed Clancy and Becky James will take over from Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton in the team sprint events and Barker will ride in place of Joanna Rowsell in the women's three-kilometre team pursuit.

Rowsell won world and Olympic team pursuit gold alongside Laura Trott and Dani King as part of a remarkable run of six successive world records, a run likely to come to an end in Glasgow after the post-London 2012 down time.

"It's a massive opportunity," Barker said. "I've got the best in the world to try to keep up with."

The 18-year-old from Cardiff is a prodigious talent and her ride comes at the end of a season which included a world junior road time-trial title and junior European individual pursuit gold.

The road time-trial win in Holland was followed a few days later by Barker helping team-mate Lucy Garner successfully defend her world junior road race title.

Trott is poised to assume Rowsell's role and lead off in the team pursuit, with King second and Barker third on Friday's opening day of competition. The trio, and Rowsell, have signed for the Honda Dream Team, funded in part by Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins' Wiggo Foundation.

Barker, like Olympic road race silver medallist Lizzie Armitstead before her, could have a decision to make on whether to pursue road or track in future.

"At the moment I'm still really young," she said. "I'm lucky enough to do track and road, but when I get older I'm going to have to specialise."