World Cup heroine Rowsell: It would be great to have a women’s Team Sky

After watching Joanna Rowsell win two World Cup golds over the weekend at a frenzied Olympic velodrome, I had the chance to chat to her on Monday for an article on the West London sport website.

She talked quite a bit about how good the inclusion of the women’s team pursuit in the Olympic programme has been for women’s cycling in general, requiring each nation to focus on strength in depth as they need three riders of the highest standard.

And she said she would like to see a female version of Team Sky in future, giving the Great Britain women’s squad the sort of support many of their male equivalents receive.

Australia’s GreenEDGE team has been set up along the same lines of Team Sky, with a squad including many of the nation’s top track riders, aiming to improve Olympic chances. But it also has a women’s team, who have already had some success this season.

Meanwhile – as you may have read in this blog in December – Great Britain’s top women have to find their own trade teams, and deal with disruption and uncertainty as the women’s circuit is nothing like as secure as the men’s.

Rowsell had a chance to see close-up how Team Sky works when the GB women shared their training camp in Mallorca earlier this year, and got to share their facilities, including a chef who travels with the team.

“It’s great for the men that they’ve got that support but it would be nice to see in future a women’s team too,” she said. “Hopefully Sky will think about that in future.”

Alison Shanks, Joanna Rowsell and Amy Cure on the podium

Rowsell (centre) won Saturday's World Cup individual pursuit (Pic: British Cycling)

Although their focus this year will mainly be on the track, the pursuit team also train and race on the road racing to increase endurance. Rowsell and Dani King both compete for the Matrix Fitness – Prendas team, which provides equipment and expenses, not the sort of sizeable contract their male counterparts enjoy with Sky.

Rowsell named a list of British road riders who would benefit from being on such a team, including Olympic road race hopeful Lizzie Armitstead, Beijing time trial silver medallist Emma Pooley and youngsters Katie Colclough and Lucy Martin.

“It would be great to have a British team, then maybe the team pursuit riders could join them when the programme suits them,” she added.

There are suggestions the Halford’s Tour Series – a circuit of town-centre criterium events – will include four women’s races this year, which is likely to mean another chance to see Rowsell in action on home soil before she goes for gold in London.

In the meantime, you can find out more about her – and download a sponsorship proposal package – on her personal website.

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