Dani King has hit out at British Cycling selectors for the Olympic Games, after she revealed that she had not been chosen for the road race squad despite saying she has hit all the criteria she was given to get to the Games in August.
Emma Pooley and Nikki Harris are likely to support Lizzie Armitstead in her quest for gold in Rio, with the official announcement expected on Friday from BC, despite rumours already circulating.
Pooley, who has only ridden two races since returning from retirement earlier this year, made it clear she was targeting Olympic selection and is likely to ride the time trial as well, but King questioned how it was possible for a rider to be selected on the basis of two races.
“I want to be very clear, this is not about Emma,” King told The Daily Telegraph. “She is an incredible athlete and a lovely person. And she was very open about coming back late in the cycle and leaving it up to the selectors to decide.
Watch: Show us your scars – Dani King
“But how can they select someone who has only ridden a couple of races? I’ve had nine top-10s, including a seventh at the Philadelphia Classic, a WorldTour race. I’ve also had 10 top-20 results.”
The 26-year-old, who won team pursuit gold at London 2012, was told to focus on the road by BC after missing the cut in 2014 for the Rio track team, and has since become the second highest ranking British rider in the UCI Women’s WorldTour behind world champion Armitstead.
King says she was able to accept her omission from the track ‘more easily’ but found it ‘shocking’ that no selectors had been to see her races since she was given criteria for selection, saying she had ‘exceeded expectations’ while riding for her Wiggle-High5 team.
“As I say, it’s not about Emma,” King continued, “It’s not about Nikki either – she deserves her spot. Like me, she has worked hard for her [Boels-Dolmans] teammates all year and tried to balance that with getting some strong results for herself.
“It is about British Cycling’s criteria and selection process. In terms of results, I should have been selected, it’s as simple as that. I should be second on the list behind Lizzie.
“I find it shocking that none of the selectors have actually been to any of my races this year. How is that fair? It feels like they had already made their minds up, and if that’s the case I could have been told even before I started really campaigning last November.”
Despite any official announcement yet to be made, strong rumours of the British selection have emerged this week, with Mark Cavendish set to take the sole spot in the omnium and the little known Ryan Owens selected as reserve for the team sprint.
King’s criticism is another hit to BC, who have had much negative press in the build-up to the Games amid the Shane Sutton scandal earlier this year, with a review still ongoing.