Emma Pooley, world time trial champion in 2010, has criticised British Cycling for its decision not to enter any women for the discipline at the UCI Road World Championships in Ponferrada, Spain, later this month.
Meanwhile it has been confirmed that Sir Dave Brailsford, who left his post as performance director with the governing body earlier this year, will return on a one-off basis to head the national team at the event.
A spokeswoman for British Cycling, quoted on Guardian.co.uk, said: “We have chosen not to enter anyone into the elite women’s time trial event this year as we don’t believe we have a contender for a medal and we are obliged to use our resources where we have the best chance of success.”
But Pooley, who announced her retirement from cycling after winning silver in the time trial at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last month, said on Twitter that the decision was founded on “poor reasoning. I didn’t have a medal chance at 1st Worlds. But experience helped later.”
British Cycling replied: “We would agree that it can be good experience, but our priority is to win medals and so we need to focus our resource on that.”
Former world and Olympic road champion Nicole Cooke has criticised British Cycling over its selection policy in her recently published autobiography The Breakaway, including highlighting her omission from the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, a year after she became Britain’s youngest ever national champion.
Among the riders who could potentially have challenged in the time trial at Ponferrada is Joanna Rowsell, national champion in 2013, but like Wiggle Honda colleagues Laura Trott and Dani King, she is currently preparing for the forthcoming track season.
Some might point out that Britain does have another medal contender, in the shape of the current national champion – Pooley herself, had she delayed her retirement by a few weeks.
Speaking of the decision to bring Brailsford back on board for the world championships just six months after he left to focus full-time on his role at Team Sky, British Cycling technical director Shane Sutton said: “It made sense for me to ask Sir Dave to attend the road world championships as obviously the road is his focus and full-time role.
“The decision allows me to stay in Manchester with the track riders for the nationals and to focus on the performances there which are increasingly important at this stage of the Olympic cycle
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.