Although Great Britain has qualified seven places for the women’s road race at next week’s World Championships in Italy, they may start with five.

Olympic road race champion Nicole Cooke and time trial silver medallist Emma Pooley lead the squad, with Sharon Laws, Jess Allen and Lizzie Armitstead also confirmed for next Saturday’s race.

But Catherine Hare and Rachel Heal, who were on the initial list, may not start.

And it has been confirmed that Pooley and Laws will ride the time trial ? with coach Julian Winn suggesting they each have a great chance of making the podium.

Winn said: “We have definitely taking five for the road race. If we had seven who can do the job, then we’d take seven. If we haven’t, then we won’t. It’s as simple as that.

“On present form and in present condition we definitely have five. There is a possibility we may take a sixth rider.

“This is not rubbishing Rachel or Catherine at all, they know the situation, but there were some concerns at the Tour of the Ardeche that they are not in the right form.

“It is purely relating to where they are at the moment, with just over a week to go, it is not writing them off, it’s just about making the decision whether to take riders to a World Championships or not.

“It’s getting more and more serious. If you are serious about winning it then you take riders who can do the job. You don’t take up places just because you’re allocated them, that isn’t the right decision.

“We are taking this seriously and we will take the best riders in the best condition.”

Regarding the time trial, Winn said: “Nicole has decided not to do the time trial, and I think that is the right decision. She is a good time triallist, but she’s not a world-class time triallist. But she is a world-class road race rider and she could win a world title. I think she could compromise her road race if she were to do the time trial. You know, if things don’t go well, that dents morale a bit.

“With Emma and Sharon I believe we have got the two best riders in the world at the moment, on current condition, and I think we have two podium athletes there.”

WOMEN’S ROAD RACE

Nicole Cooke

Emma Pooley

Sharon Laws

Jessica Allen

Lizzie Armitstead

WOMEN’S TIME TRIAL

Emma Pooley

Sharon Laws

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