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London 2012 ambitions: Women's Team Pursuit squad end association with Sarah Storey

by Sarah Storey
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on Dec 06 in General Blog

Shortly after returning to Manchester from her second appearance for the Women's Team Pursuit squad in a World Cup, Sarah Storey was informed her association with the squad would no longer be continuing and she would now not be considered for the London World Cup in February, the Track World Championships in Melbourne in April and ultimately the Olympic Games next summer.

Since the Team Pursuit for women was introduced to the World Championships, World Cups and Olympic Programmes, Great Britain have won all but one World Championship title and are aiming to be the first nation to win the event at the Olympic Games next summer. Following on from the silver medal at the 2010 World Championships the squad started working with a new coach and a bigger group of riders which at it's largest involved 14 riders.

Storey has been involved with the team since April 2010 and after winning the National Team Pursuit title with Horizon Fitness in September 2010, made her debut for Great Britain at the Manchester World Cup in February 2011. She certainly started her international Team Pursuit career with a bang and alongside her World Champion team mates rode a British record in the final, which also still stands as the second fastest time in history at 3.19.757.

Missing out on the 2011 World Championships after the build up to the event clashed with the Para-cycling Track Worlds, Storey continued to work to regain the National Team Pursuit title in 2011 with her Horizon Fitness Prendas team mates, before travelling to Colombia to participate in the World Cup in Cali. After a tough qualification in which the team qualified second fastest behind New Zealand the squad had a change of tactics for the final which saw them ride over 3 seconds quicker and take the gold medal.

Despite her best efforts to contribute to this performance, a review took place of the squad and the decision was made to reduce the squad further and take Sarah out of the equation for 2012.

"I collected my bags in Manchester and before heading home was told my performance in Cali was not as good as they [the selectors] were looking for and so this is the end of the journey for me with the Great Britain team pursuit team," Sarah said after returning to training today.

"I have always said that London 2012 is about riding as many events as I am good enough for and so now it is important for me to concentrate on the other events I have at the Games."

Storey is on the Paralympic long list for the mixed Team Sprint event and will potentially look at this event as a complimentary team event to the four individual events she is attempting to make selection for at the Paralympic Games which start on August 29th 2012.

"Selection for the Paralympic Games will be made on June 20th, so my priorities don't really change a great deal as I have to concentrate on trying to get selected for and defend the two gold medals I won in Beijing."

"I always said the Team Pursuit was another opportunity to become the best athlete I could be and it would be a bonus if I was able to make the event work alongside the events in which I am Para-cycling World Champion. As with any team event the squad has to work to get the fastest three riders on the start line in the Olympic final and in the eyes of the selectors I am not able to contribute to this process any longer."

Storey has an umblemished record on the track and road since the Beijing Paralympic Games in 2008 and has won every Para-cycling world title on offer in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Her final international Para-cycling event prior to the London Paralympic Games will be at the Para-cycling Track World Championships in Los Angles in February 2012.

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