sport

Absent Rowsell sure of victory

Olympic champion Joanna Rowsell is confident Great Britain can win a fifth Track Cycling World Championships team pursuit title in six years in her absence next month.

After consultation with British Cycling performance director Sir Dave Brailsford and women's endurance coach Paul Manning, Rowsell decided to take a break from the velodrome this winter, meaning she will be miss next month's World Championships in Minsk, Belarus.

Rowsell's fellow Olympic champions Laura Trott and Dani King will go in search of their third successive world title in Minsk and will be joined by either Elinor Barker, who rode in Rowsell's place in November's Glasgow Track World Cup, or Amy Roberts.

"I'm fully confident they're going to win," three-time world champion Rowsell said. "They won the Glasgow World Cup with very limited preparation.

"Seeing Elinor ride there made me think, 'It's okay, they are going to be fine'.

"Elinor is a fantastic talent and also Amy Roberts. Riders like Elinor and Amy need that sort of experience because next year we are going to need four riders anyway."

The women's team pursuit is to change from three women and 3km to four riders and 4km after this season, with Rowsell hoping to slot back into position in 2014 and then the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016.

Given the expansion of the team pursuit, Rowsell is confident of reclaiming her place when she returns to the track, but for now her focus is on the road.

Road focus

All five of Britain's team pursuit riders have been signed up to the Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team, which is the brain-child of Australian Commonwealth champion Rochelle Gilmore and is supported by Sir Bradley Wiggins, through his foundation.

Rowsell will turn domestique and do her utmost to help the team leaders, including Gilmore and two-time world road race champion Giorgia Bronzini.

The 24-year-old, who has twice reached the podium at the British road race championships, added: "I want to push myself out of my comfort zone."

The track cycling world championships take place in Minsk, Belarus, from February 20-24.