She may have had an unorthodox run into the track season but Elinor Barker is confident of putting on a show for the home crowd at the TISSOT UCI Track World Cup.
The event returns to Manchester for the first time in four years, this weekend, and Barker is preparing to ride both the team pursuit and omnium on her home track.
But she is the only member of the Great Britain Cycling Team to have ridden in the senior road World Championships, in September.
After racking up a top-20 finish in the time trial and putting in a strong effort in the road race, she took a week off before preparing for the European Track Championships.
She left Berlin with a gold medal in the Madison and went on to ride Six Day London before pulling out on the last day through illness.
Although still suffering from a cold she finished second in the Madison at last weekend’s World Cup, and hopes her busy schedule will lead to good form in Manchester.
“I’m feeling pretty good. I think I’ve come through about where I expected to be. I haven’t really done a huge amount of track training ahead of this,” said the world points race champion.
“So I didn’t have the power or top end speed, but the last couple of weeks have been a lot better than I thought it was going to be, which is a good place to be.
“I’ve used this racing block as training to get that top end speed, and I feel like I’m faster now than I was three weeks ago.
“So hopefully I’ll be going well on Saturday and Sunday.”
A product of the Maindy Flyers, Barker is joined in the team pursuit squad by fellow Welsh rider Manon Lloyd, and she is heartened by the belief in the squad.
A silver medal in the European Championships was followed by bronze in the first round of the World Cup, last weekend.
And with both Barker and Archibald the eldest members of the squad at just 23, she is optimistic for what the future holds.
“It’s exciting. We’ve got a pretty ambitious squad and the girls are already talking about world records and times that we’ll get in the next few years,” said the Olympic team pursuit gold medallist.
“So it’s nice to have a squad that has that quiet confidence about them and that we can say ‘this is how fast we want to be in a few years’. Or ‘this is the step of the podium we want to be on in a few years’ – it’s pretty exciting to be in that place.
“I don’t really think about being the more experienced one now. It’s nice in a way, I’m really enjoying it.
“But I don’t feel like I’m much older or a huge amount more experienced than the girls coming through.”
On November 10-12, incredible riders like Elinor Barker will compete on the Manchester Velodrome in one of the most anticipated events on the track cycling calendar. Buy your tickets http://www.trackworldcup.co.uk/tickets/