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National victor's jersey on mind of world champion Elinor Barker

National victor's jersey on mind of world champion Barker
By Sportsbeat

03/01/2018 at 11:30Updated 03/01/2018 at 11:43

Boasting more world titles than national honours, Elinor Barker is something of a statistical anomaly in the world of track cycling.

But rather than be worried by the missing jersey in her collection, the 23-year-old is confident this merely showcases the strength in the British team.

An Olympic gold medallist, three-time world champion and double Commonwealth medallist, success has never been far away from Barker, with plenty more expected as the years pass.

But with five female British World Cup medallists this season – as well as ten-time European champion Katie Archibald in the ranks – she is far from alone in standing high on the podium.

This month will see Rio 2016 heroes Archibald and Barker put their partnership to one side however, as the National Track Championships roll back around, with World Championship selection high on the agenda.

Though with the team hitting new strengths and consistency in each and every outing, the determined Welsh flyer knows winning is a task easier said than done.

"I'd really like to get a national champion's jersey this year," she said.

"I've actually won more world titles that I have national titles in my career, which I think just shows how tough the competition at national level is.

"I know everybody says it, but that's because it's true – there really is so much strength in depth and it's really tough racing."

Barker is not the only one full of admiration for the talent on the boards, with Archibald confident her success on the global stage has stemmed from events like the National Championships.

Now, with the countdown to Tokyo 2020 getting ever nearer, the 23-year-old is in no doubt that the rest of the world will be forced to stand up and take notice.

"I think that, if I was any other nation, I would envy the strength in depth that we have," she said.

"We're never comfortable – there's never a time when you think that your spot on the team is safe. We are pushed to the edge of that rivalry, and I think it's evident in our results that it's working for us.

"We've got two world champions, in myself and Elinor, and have had people on world cup podiums throughout the season. I'm defending three titles at nationals and there are threats from everywhere, which brings pressure and anxiety, but it's exciting."