Hopes of Olympic gold dashed: Sarah Storey announces British Cycling have dropped her from team pursuit squad
Rider who helped win World Cup gold in Colombia last week says she will now target up to five Paralympic golds
Sarah Storey’s dream of winning Olympic gold at London 2012 to add to the 18 Paralympic gold medals she has won in swimming and track cycling is over she has announced on her blog – just days after she helped played her part in Great Britain’s women’s team pursuit squad’s victory at the UCI World Cup Classics event in Cali, Colombia.
The news that she no longer figured in Team GB’s Olympic plans was broken to Storey before she’d even had a chance to get home and unpack her bags to add that latest gold medal to her trophy cabinet, the 34-year-old revealed in a post on her blog yesterday evening.
Official confirmation arrived this morning from British Cycling, which has said that Wendy Houvenaghel, Dani King, Laura Trott and Joanna Rowsell are the four riders who will now train for the team pursuit at London 2012, in which three riders compete, compared to four in the men's event.
Storey, who was born with a deformity in her left hand, won her first swimming Paralympic gold at Barcelona in 1992, and switched to track cycling ahead of the Beijing Games where she took gold in the individual pursuit and the time trial.
Her ambitions to compete in the London 2012 Olympics received a boost in February this year when she made her debut at the Manchester World Cup, where Great Britain set the second fastest time in history to win.
Competition for the three places in the women’s team pursuit has been intense, with 14 riders at one point being under consideration. In October, Rebecca Romero, winner of the individual pursuit at Beijing, revealed that injury had forced her to withdraw from the pool of riders from which the Olympic team will be drawn.
The event provided the sole victory for Britain's cyclists at the UCI Track World Championships earlier this year, but Storey was missing from the line-up since that event clashed with the Paralympic Track Worlds.
She said last night that after reviewing the squad, British Cycling had decided to reduce the squad, bringing an end to her Olympic ambitions.
"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," she explained.
"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."
Those include four individual events at the Paralympics, where the 34-year-old is also now considering entering the mixed team sprint.
"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,” she continued.
"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," she concluded.