CW’s British Riders of 2012: No. 14-13

Cycling Weekly is revealing the top 50 2012 British Riders of the Year, counting down every day until December 19.

The top 10 will be revealed in Cycling Weekly’s Christmas issue, on sale from Thursday December 20.

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Olympic and world team pursuit champion

Joanna Rowsell is now the most experienced member of Britain’s all-conquering team pursuit squad – and she’s only 24.

Remarkably, she’s already a three-time world champion, an Olympic champion.

Rowsell does for the women’s team what Ed Clancy does for the men – she’s the rider who fires the team out of the starting gate and gets them up to speed.

Think back to the qualifying round of the World Cup in London in February – the first competitive ride by a British team on the new Olympic track – and remember how fast she got started. So fast, in fact, that she put the pressure on too soon. Afterwards, the team admitted that the buzz of the crowd and the sense of occasion got the better of them.

It takes a special talent to be able to reign in all that adrenaline just a matter of hours later and come out with a far more measured, controlled ride, but that is exactly what Rowsell did.

That world record-breaking ride in the final of the London World Cup kick-started an incredible run. The trio of Rowsell, Laura Trott and Dani King kept lowering the world record every time they stepped onto the track until they reached 3-14.051 in the Olympic final itself.

As the women’s team pursuit expands to four riders and adds an extra kilometre next year, Rowsell’s role is about to assume even greater importance.

But the way she rode this year will leave the British coaches in no doubt that the squad is in very safe hands.

Dani King, Laura Trott and Joanna Rowsell with team pursuit gold


Olympic and world team pursuit champion

Dani King should be held up as an example to every young rider who suffers a setback or fails to make the grade at a specific point in their career. Don’t give up because you never know what can happen.

As a teenager King was spotted by the British Cycling Talent Team but when it came to earning selection for the women’s under-23 academy programme she missed the cut.

For many riders, that would be the beginning of the end. Rejection at such a critical point could be final.

King then suffered from glandular fever but she fought back, looked for a different route and eventually got a call from Paul Manning asking her to try out for the team pursuit.

In 2011, she began to break into the team but, with so much competition for places, a spot in the Olympics still looked a way off.

However, King’s big moment came in London in February when she was brought in to replace Wendy Houvenaghel for the final of the team pursuit.

King, Rowsell and Trott broke the world record and they never looked back. After that, they were on the most incredible roll which took them all the way to the world title and an Olympic gold medal.

Don’t agree with our choice of riders? You can vote for your top 10 British Riders of 2012 on the CW website. When Tweeting about our countdown or your nominees, use the #ridersoftheyear hashtag. We’ll be running your choice in a future issue.
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Related links

Cycling Weekly’s 2012 British riders of the year index

Riders revealed so far…
December 17: Numbers 16-15 – Philip Hindes and Elinor Barker
December 16: Numbers 18-17 – Steven Burke and Peter Kennaugh
December 15: Numbers 20-19 – David Millar and Lucy Garner
December 14: Numbers 22-12 – Steve Cummings and Ben Swift
December 13: Numbers 24-23 – Ian Stannard and Helen Wyman
December 12: Numbers 26-25 – Annie Last and Scott Thwaites
December 11: Numbers 28-27 – Mark Colbourne and Alex Dowsett
December 10: Numbers 32-29 – Sharon Laws, Liam Killeen, Neil Fachie, Rachel Atherton
December 9: Number 33 – David Stone
December 8: Number 34 – Emma Pooley
December 7: Numbers 36-35 – Nikki Harris and Russell Downing
December 6: Numbers 38-37 – Anthony Kappes and Andy Fenn
December 5: Numbers 40-39 – Josh Edmondson and Matt Bottrill
December 4: Numbers 42-41 – Luke Rowe and Michael Hutchinson
December 3: Numbers 44-43 – Sam Lowe and Jon Dibben
December 2: Numbers 46-45 – Rebecca James and Jessica Varnish 
December 1: Numbers 50-47 – Alex Peters, Kristian House, Richard Handley and Wendy Houvenaghel