British team pursuit stars Joanna Rowsell, Dani King and Laura Trott will tackle their first full seasons on the road with the new Wiggle-Honda team, which was unveiled today in London, as part of their preparations for the next Olympic Games in 2016.
King and Trott will both ride February’s Track World Championships in Minsk, Belarus, before turning their attention to the road with the team which is managed by Commonwealth Games gold medalist Rochelle Gilmore and directed by British Cycling’s women’s road manager Simon Cope.
Fellow Brits Elinor Barker and Amy Roberts look set to follow the same path, while Rowsell will focus exclusively on the road and begin her season at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in Belgium on February 23.
Trott, who completed an Olympic double with gold in the omnium at London, is looking forward to a new challenge after the World Championships.
“It’s a new experience to me,” she told Cycling Weekly, “and as much as I love the team pursuit girls it will be nice to ride with different people too. It’s gonna be great and I’m really excited about it.”
The team is strongly tied to British Cycling; head coach Shane Sutton was an instrumental catalyst in bringing the team together and Gilmore will report every two weeks to BC performance director Dave Brailsford. Bradley Wiggins also backs the team through his foundation.
“I have the same philosophy [as Brailsford and Sutton],” Gilmore said. “I think that’s what brought us together. We share the same ambition which is to provide the athletes with what’s best for them.
“Its great to be able to bounce ideas and get opinions and guidance from people that have worked with the girls for a longer time than I have.”
Rowsell explained that a road programme will prove even more useful in preparing for the endurance track events. The women’s team pursuit will be upped to four riders over four kilometres for the first time at the 2014 World Championships.
“Road racing will really compliment that,” she said. “Because it’s a longer event I think that extra distance will make a big difference, another four laps means you need more endurance.”