Nineteen-year-old Josh Tarling is in contention to race on the track at the 2024 Olympics, GB men's endurance coach Ben Greenwood has revealed.
The Ineos Grenadiers time trial specialist has been training with the Team GB set-up, and could feature in the team pursuit quartet in Paris next summer.
Speaking to Cycling Weekly, Greenwood described Tarling's power data as "Ganna-esque" - reminiscent of the team pursuit Olympic gold medalist and Hour Record holder Filippo Ganna - and explained that the teenager is now likely to travel with the GB squad to key events on the road to the 2024 Olympics.
“He’s obviously a very talented young rider who’s got big power in the time trial,” Greenwood said. “One of the first things he said to me was, ‘I just want to come on the track and go fast.’”
Last month, Tarling rode his first velodrome bunch events in over a year, taking part in the Four Days of Geneva competition in Switzerland. His next event will be this weekend's Track Cycling Challenge in Grenchen, Switzerland, before he joins the GB team pursuit squad - world champions in 2022 - in their sessions before Christmas.
"The primary focus for Josh remains road racing, time trialling. But Dario [Cioni, Ineos Grenadiers coach who also trains Ganna] felt that it would be a good opportunity to get him on the track, get him training on it and get him racing on it.
“We’re just getting him involved with the training environment with the older lads to see how he fits into it,” Greenwood added.
“It’s definitely of interest to see what he can do. The challenge with the Olympics is that the number of riders you get is so complicated. It’s not like a World Championships where you pick who you want, in theory. You’ve got four [men’s endurance] riders for the track, and you can bring a fifth one in from another discipline. Realistically, it’s going to be someone from the road team that could do that.”
Tarling will likely lead British hopes in the individual time trial in Paris, having recently become the European champion. Earlier this summer, he sealed a bronze medal at the Glasgow World Championships, where he set out to average 455 watts over an hour.
Greenwood told Cycling Weekly the teenager is now among “up to 10” men’s endurance riders in the mix for Olympic track selection.
“It’s a healthy squad,” the coach said. “You’ve got some really talented young ones. Will Tidball and Ethan Vernon are both bunch race world champions. Mark Stewart did a really good Madison at Worlds, as well. We have a lot of depth.
“From my perspective, it would be daft with anyone out there not to get a proper look at them and see where they’re at.”
In the run-up to Paris next year, Team GB will travel to Nations Cup events in Australia, Hong Kong and Canada, where the men’s team pursuit squad will seek valuable Olympics qualifying points. The quartet’s spot was thrown into uncertainty after a disastrous crash at the World Championships, where they bowed out in the opening heats.
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