A lack of composure was behind the disappointing qualifying performance from Great Britain’s women’s team pursuit squad at the Track World Championships in London on Thursday afternoon.
The quartet – comprising Joanna Rowsell Shand, Laura Trott, Elinor Barker and Ciara Horne – recorded a time of 4-21.454, placing them fifth in the standings and meaning a bronze medal is their best possible result.
Rowsell Shand and Horne were both distanced from the line in the final kilometre, with British Cycling’s coach co-ordinator Iain Dyer attributing a disjointed pace and the riders’ decision making for the surprisingly slow time.
“If you look at the splits, we hadn’t settled on a consistent pace, it was up and down,” he said.
“When people are doing their turn then getting pushed [afterwards], it’s difficult to stay cohesive.
“It’s important to make decisions on the hoof; do you do a lap-and-a-half [turn], or do you do a quick lap and get out [of first wheel] and recompose yourself?”
Great Britain have won six of the last eight world titles in the discipline, with Australia their most consistent rival in that period.
However, the USA quartet rode an impressive 4-16.180 to top the qualifying standings, the second fastest time ever, to suggest the quality of opposition is increasing.
“The Americans have set a great time, credit to them,” Dyer added. “We know where the front of the race is, and we’ve got to endeavour to match that.”
However, with Katie Archibald missing from the line-up after a motorbike crash in December, Dyer insisted that the squad did not miss having Dani King available for selection.
King was part of the Olympic winning team at London 2012, when the discipline was three women over three kilometres, and she trained with the team last summer having been cut from the GB track programme at the end of 2013. She was not asked to rejoin the team.
Dyer said: “Dani trained with us for a good spell last year, we were able to see her up close in team pursuit mode.
“It’s a different event [now] to when she was TP champion; being 33 per cent longer, the dynamic has changed. I’m confident that the right call was made.”