Elinor Barker showed she is “pretty close” to the form of her life entering the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics, as she claimed Britain’s only gold of the Track World Championships in Berlin.
Barker took two laps on the field in the points race to claim the rainbow jersey in style ahead of American Jernnifer Valente and Norwegian Anita Yvonne Stenberg
The beaming Welshwoman said: “I really wanted to get away but it never felt like there was a defining attack. At some point I just looked around and there were two or three people there.”
And although the 2017 points race World Champion seemed to make both laps up with relative ease that belied the effort involved. “I wanted to have some more energy to try and at least get involved in another sprint after taking a lap but I just had absolutely nothing left I was just seeing stars.”
However, she said that she would have “much rather” won the Madison. She rode that yesterday but saw her medal hopes disappear after partner Neah Evans crashed. Though she said she was happy with how she rode but that sometimes medals were hard to come by in the “unpredictable” event.
Barker’s gold, which took Britain to four medals at the Worlds, the same total as last year, was a fillip to the team that had struggled for results in Berlin.
But Barker said she felt no extra pressure to perform to lift Britain’s medal tally. “Everybody really backs each other. We really want each other to win, but I certainly didn't go into this thinking, ‘Oh I need to win because we haven’t won any’. I don’t’ think about that at all. I just want to win every race that I enter,” she said.
The result was further confirmation that the 25-year-old is continuing to develop as a rider. She had spent several years getting podiums but few wins in individual events at major meets until that points World Championships win in 2017. She then followed that up with a rainbow jersey in the scratch last year.
“I feel like I'm in a place now where I can take bigger risks because I'm not that interested in medals. I’m far more interested in winning. That sometimes means that you can use a tactic that might mean that you have to contend, I'm not too scared of that anymore,” she said.
In addition Barker has broken the curse of having her parents, Graham and Sue, at the World Championships in the stands. “I almost told them not to come this week because they've only come to the ones where I’ve not won anything,” she said.
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Having trained as a journalist at Cardiff University I spent eight years working as a business journalist covering everything from social care, to construction to the legal profession and riding my bike at the weekends and evenings. When a friend told me Cycling Weekly was looking for a news editor, I didn't give myself much chance of landing the role, but I did and joined the publication in 2016. Since then I've covered Tours de France, World Championships, hour records, spring classics and races in the Middle East. On top of that, since becoming features editor in 2017 I've also been lucky enough to get myself sent to ride my bike for magazine pieces in Portugal and across the UK. They've all been fun but I have an enduring passion for covering the national track championships. It might not be the most glamorous but it's got a real community feeling to it.
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