Leeds cyclist Katy Marchant faces a do-or-die scenario in her bid to make Great Britain’s track cycling Olympic team.
The 23-year-old, who only switched from being a heptathlon partner of Jessica Ennis-Hill three years ago because of the output she was producing in a watt bike session, goes into the world track championships in London knowing it is now or never if she is to make it to Rio.
Marchant is one of three women vying for a spot on the two-strong team sprint squad, but much more pressing than that, she and partner Jess Varnish know they may need to win the world title this week to book their seat on the plane to Rio.
That is because only five European nations can take part in the event in Rio and Britain currently sit sixth in the rankings. This week’s world championships are the final qualifier and Britain must climb into the top five by finishing two places above France – the fifth-placed nation – in London this week.
On top of that, they also have to preserve their position in the top nine globally – if they are to snatch Europe’s last berth.
Marchant – a four-time national champion on the track in 2015 – said: “We have just had the mindset that if we train every day as hard as we can and we go out there and give the best performance that we can, then hopefully that will be enough.
“We have had a lot of pressure over the season to get the rides out, so I just think we don’t need added pressure [of worrying about qualification].”
Varnish and Marchant will be joined in Britain’s women’s sprint squad for the world championships by Becky James, who is still working her way back to top form after a long-term knee injury and a cancer scare.
Qualification for the women’s team sprint is this afternoon with the finals tonight.
The headline act on the first day of five is the men’s team pursuit which could see Sir Bradley Wiggins team up with Yorkshire’s Ed Clancy in the qualifying round.
Wiggins, 35, is hoping to make the British squad for what would be an Olympic swansong in Rio while Clancy – a two-time team pursuit Olympic champion – needs to prove his fitness after undergoing back surgery 12 weeks ago.