Elinor Barker is well aware she’s in the midst of her most important year in professional cycling.
At just 21, she is already looking for her third Track Cycling World Championships success in her relatively brief career ahead of the prospect of a first Olympics looming in Brazil this summer.
Barker believes the atmosphere she can expect in London for the March 2-6 worlds will be just as inspiring as when she competed in Glasgow at the Commonwealth Games in 2014.
“Glasgow was great, pretty close to being in front of a home crowd you could say,” she said.
“It was a home nation event but hopefully London will be bigger and better with having all the nations together rather than having the support separated.”
The Cardiff-born cyclist believes the team will be ready to perform at their best in under two weeks’ time as they continue to put in the hard miles at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester.
Barker said: “It’s really hard efforts and then maximal rests at the moment. It’s probably two days on the track and then one day off the track or at an easy speed.
“Today was an easy day which included a two hour road ride with a twenty minute effort period but not flat out – more or less at a moderate effort.”
The GB pursuit team of Barker, Katie Archibald, Joanna Rowsell Shand and Laura Trott is a perfect blend of youth and experience which Barker believes is a vital component of their success.
“Everyone brings their own personalities and qualities along with that,” she said.
“With Jo being the most experienced she is probably the calmest and probably the least likely to be ruffled by any issue that we may have.
“For example with somebody being ill or injured, she is just so calm and collected just because I think she knows there is not much you can do about.
“It is quite helpful in a team when things do go wrong to have somebody like that around.”
Barker also believes that being a team-mate of Trott not only within British Cycling but also at Matrix Fitness Pro is helpful.
“It’s really handy to have someone on both teams because you always have somebody that is going through the same emotions as you.
“For example when I say to my road team I won’t be able to ride that much this season because I have got to be on the track, there will be Laura asking them the same things.
“To be honest I have never really had an issue with that anyway but Matrix Pro are such a helpful and understanding team but it does help to have someone who is in exactly the same situation as me.”
Barker admits her schedule after the London Track World Championships will be fully designed with the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in mind.
“It’s mainly going to be training camps. I am not going to have a huge amount of road races,” she said.
“I think there will be a little in there but I haven’t quite decided exactly which races I am going to do yet.
“We have got a couple of training camps in Valencia, maybe one in Majorca and then hopefully if I am on it the holding camp is in Newport.”
Barker knows the upcoming World Track Championships will be like no other as the women’s pursuit team look to regain the gold medal they lost to Australia last year in Paris.
“This one is going to mean a lot for different reasons.
“This will be the first time I am going into it knowing what it feels like to be a world champion but not going in to defend my own title.
“I have got the motivation having lost last year, knowing that I don’t want that again. It’s a home World Championships which doesn’t come along often.
“Also going into an Olympic year it’s going to mean that bit more and it will be the first World Championships that I have ever done that my family can come and watch which is quite special.
“My parents are going, my sister, my boyfriend and some of his family are going – more than I have ever had at a race before.”
Image courtesy of Go SkyRide via YouTube, with thanks.