World Track Championships: Katy Marchant happy to go solo in sprint camp on the road to Tokyo

Katy Marchant: Leeds-born rider aiming to add to her medal haul with success in Hong Kong.
Katy Marchant: Leeds-born rider aiming to add to her medal haul with success in Hong Kong.
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Katy Marchant stood alongside Jess Varnish and shared the anger and frustration in failing to qualify for the Rio Olympics, but now the former heptathlete is focusing on herself as the journey to Tokyo 2020 begins.

Yorkshire’s Marchant is the only British female sprinter to have travelled to this week’s Track Cycling World Championships in Hong Kong, so there will be no Great Britain entry in the two-rider, two-lap event when the championships begin today.

I’ve never had a problem with a coach. The distraction was something I didn’t need and something I didn’t feel I needed to be involved in.

Katy Marchant

Thirteen months ago, on the opening day of the Track World Championships in London, Marchant and Varnish failed to qualify in the team event for the Rio Olympics.

It was the catalyst for a series of events which prompted an independent review into British Cycling’s world-class performance programme.

Varnish was dropped from the squad, made allegations of discrimination against then technical director Shane Sutton, which he denies, and the review is still to be published.

Marchant continued riding and won individual sprint bronze in Rio.

“I tend to be a very focused person, so I don’t find it difficult to block things out and move on,” said Marchant.

The 24-year-old Leeds-born rider did not contribute to the review.

Individuals were able to contact the panel with their observations, good and bad, but the overwhelming respondents’ views were bad according to a leaked version which was scathing in its criticisms of British Cycling.

Marchant added: “Personal choice. I’ve got nothing to say.

“At the world champs (in London) there was a lot of disappointment, there were some heated moments and things got expressed maybe not in the way they should.

“I’ve never had a problem with a coach. The distraction was something I didn’t need and something I didn’t feel I needed to be involved in.

“I felt like I didn’t need to voice my opinion. I was quite happy with what I was doing, getting on with my work and getting to the world champs (in Hong Kong).”

Marchant is a solitary figure in the sprint camp because Becky James, double Olympic silver medallist, is taking a break post-Rio and others are deemed not to be competitive enough, yet.

Marchant added: “Leading up to the Games, I spent a lot of time just training with a very small group of female sprinters. Nothing’s changed really.

“It’s nice to be able focus on just the individual events and not to have to worry about the team sprint.

“It worked for me before the Games and, hopefully, it’s going to work again. I’m happy to be focusing on myself. I’ve had a good year’s practice now.”

Great Britain will be looking for optimism on the bike after a challenging 12 months off it in Hong Kong this week.

British Cycling won six out of 10 track titles at the Rio Olympics, and were dominant in the Paralympics, but has endured a torrid time off the track.

Head coach Iain Dyer said: “It’s an unfortunate reflection that the bad news seems to hang around a lot longer than the good news.”

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