10:56am Monday 20th February 2012
Joanna Rowsell was the star performer for Britain’s women at the UCI World Cup as she won gold in both the individual and team pursuit at London’s Olympic Velodrome, writes Oliver Porritt.
Rowsell, 23, was part of the world record-breaking team pursuit threesome before taking an unexpected win on her own against former world champion Alison Shanks from New Zealand.
The young British rider led Shanks throughout and finished just over a second ahead in three minutes, 32:364 seconds to take the crown and put down a marker to the rest of the world.
Rowsell will now focus on the team pursuit as the individual event will not be contested at the Olympics and she saw the latter as one in which she had nothing to lose.
“My confidence was so high after winning the team pursuit and getting the world record so I was really up for this," she said.
“I’m really pleased as I’ve done no training at all for this - not even a single pursuit session.
“So I just went out there to enjoy it and I knew I had good form.
“I knew the team was on a winning streak so I wanted to carry that on.
“I knew I could go out as hard as I wanted then hold on to it and hope for the best down the back end and it paid off.
“We were training really, really hard on the track last week in Manchester but we were working towards the Olympics and not this weekend.
“So there’s definitely still a lot more to come.
“We’ve got another big training cycle coming up then we’ll rest a bit before the Worlds and then hopefully move it up a notch.
“I may do the individual pursuit at the World Championships in Melbourne as it’s on the last day of the program but the team pursuit is the priority, so we’ll see.”
Rowsell together with Dani King and Laura Trott also set a new world record of 3.18:148 minutes as they beat rivals Canada who had set the quickest time in qualifying.
In the fastest race in history both teams went under the world record, set minutes earlier by Australia as they won bronze.
Rowsell, a double world champion in the team pursuit, said of their victory: “It’s great to win it and to set the world record as well.
“We knew it was possible, as in training we were riding well above world record pace.
“We calmed down a bit after going out too fast in qualifying. I think we got carried away in our first round with the crowd and the atmosphere.
“It’s really difficult with the atmosphere not to get carried away and to control your emotions."
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