On a day when the Great Britain team was announced for the World Road Race Championships in Melbourne which take place at the end of September and start of October, the England Cycling Team for the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, taking place immediately afterwards, has also been revealed, with a number of riders featuring in both.
A number of high-profile names are missing from the team, however, with Bradley Wiggins taking a break following a disappointing Tour de France and track stars such as Victoria Pendleton riding in the European Championships in Pruszkow, Poland, which counts towards qualification for the London 2012 Olympics.
As a result, the both the men’s track team, whose oldest rider is the 22-year-old Team Sky rider Ben Swift and their female counterparts both have a very youthful slant, although there is a place in the women’s team for the 32-year-old Sarah Storey, the Paralympic swimmer turned cyclist who is bidding to compete for Great Britain in both the Olympics and Paralympics in London in two years’ time.
Storey becomes the first ever paracyclist to be selected to appear in the Commonwealth Games, where she will compete in the team pursuit on the track and possibly in the road time trial, and she’s clearly relishing the prospect.
“"I'm so excited to be selected for Team England, it's such an amazing opportunity for me to race the World's best pursuiters and I can't wait to get stuck in,” she explained. “Being shortlisted for the Road TT as well is a huge honour, I've been working very hard on my road skills this year and so to step up and be in the mix for this event too is a testament to the hard work I've put in and also the hard work put in by my team Horizon Fitness to get me up to this level,” she added.
Meanwhile, the men’s road team blends age with experience, and includes the 36-year-old Jeremy Hunt lining up in the road race where he will face the two riders with whom he will have teamed up for Great Britain in Melbourne, Mark Cavendish, racing in Delhi for the Isle of Man, and Geraint Thomas of Wales.
The team also includes a quartet of Team Sky riders – Russ Downing, Chris Froome, Ian Stannard and Ben Swift, plus Alex Dowsett of Trek-Livestrong, who will be fresh back from Melbourne, where he will have competed in the Under-23 road race and time trial, and event in which he is European champion at that age group.
The women’s road team includes no fewer than six of the riders who have been named in the Great Britain squad for Melbourne, headed by Emma Pooley and Lizzie Armistead of Cervélo TestTeam.
Other British stars competing at Delhi on their way back from the World Championships in Melbourne are Geraint Thomas, who will represent Wales in the men’s road race and time trial, with David Millar racing both events in the colours of Scotland. Nicole Cooke, meanwhile, will ride for Wales in the female versions of both events.
Besides Millar, members of the Scotland team for Delhi include Ross Edgar, a gold, silver and bronze medalist at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, and Evan Oliphant of Endura Racing, who will compete on the track and in the road race.
Mark Cavendish, meanwhile, heads up a strong Isle of Man cycling team that includes Peter Kennaugh of Team Sky and his brother Tim, as well as Jonny Bellis, continuing his comeback from the scooter crash that almost claimed his life nearly 12 months ago.
However, with insufficient time to get to Delhi from Melbourne and recover in time for the track events, Cavendish will focus on the Commonwealth road race and won’t get the chance to defend the 20km scratch race title he won at the 2006 Games.
The full England cycling team for the Delhi Commonwealth Games is as follows:
MEN’S TRACK TEAM
WOMEN’S TRACK TEAM
MEN’S ROAD TEAM
WOMEN’S ROAD TEAM
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.