Following the track Nationals at the end of September there was no time for a break as it was straight back into training for the European Championships! These took place on Friday 21st October in Apeldoorn, Holland, the same location as the World Championships 7 months ago where I was reserve and unfortunately didn’t get to ride. So I was really up for taking this opportunity to race and confirm my place in the team!
The European Championships are an important event for Olympic qualification points and marked the start of our winter campaign in preparation for next summer’s Games. We flew out to Holland on the Sunday before the race to allow us time to complete some training sessions on the track before race day which is very important as every track is different. It was decided the line up would be me in “man” 1, Laura Trott in 2 and my Horizon Fitness Prendas Ciclismo teammate Dani King in 3. From the experience Laura and Dani had from the Worlds in March we knew this wasn’t a fast track so we couldn’t expect a super quick time but it was about putting in a good performance to get the best out of ourselves.
Our qualifying ride went really well and we recorded a time of 3:22.4 which was over a second quicker than the time GB had recorded at the World Championships here in March. We were also more than 4 seconds clear of our nearest rivals Germany!
The final ride was a lot more eventful – before we had even started! There had been a crash in the bronze medal ride so after my bike had been put in the gate and we were all ready to go we were instructed to leave the line and wait until the rider who had crashed could be moved. After a bit of a wait we went to the start line again, had the countdown and started, only to hear the gun fire to signal a false start. Initially I was a little confused as to who had false started but then I saw the German girl in the back straight was still in the gate! The start gate was faulty and hadn’t released her. We stopped again and after some testing of the gate we started again, only for the exact same thing to happen a second time! Eventually the organisers decided to start the race without the start gates in either straight. So it was fourth time lucky and finally we were off! Despite the fact it had been about half an hour since we finished our warm up we rode a well paced ride and after half distance we had the German team in sight! We didn’t quite catch them by the finish but it was still a great victory!
I was over the moon to be European Team Pursuit Champion! It is a great way to start our winter campaign and consolidate our Olympic qualification. I am looking forward to an easy week now before getting back to training next week. The next major competition for me will be the London round of the World Cup in February so between now and then I will be working very hard and hopefully see the World Record go sometime next year!