British Cycling has today named the 23-strong squad which will contest the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships, as riders continue to build towards the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
Reigning world champions Dame Sarah Storey, Jody Cundy, Kadeena Cox, James Ball, Neil Fachie and Matt Rotherham and Sophie Thornhill and Helen Scott are all part of the squad for the championships, which take place in Milton, Canada, from January 30 to February 2.
In the men’s tandem events, kilo world record holders and sprint world champions Fachie and Rotherham are again paired together, while Ball – reigning kilo world champion – is piloted by Lewis Stewart as Pete Mitchell continues his recovery from injury.
In what is the final major international track competition before the Paralympics, Sam Ruddock – who competed in track and field events at both London 2012 and Rio 2016 – will contest a cycling world championships for the first time, while reigning Paralympic champions Steve Bate and Adam Duggleby, Lora Fachie and Corrine Hall, Louis Rolfe and Jon-Allan Butterworth will also compete for world titles.
Cundy, who last year won the 16th track world title of his career as he retained his MC4 kilo crown, said: “Even for those of us who have experienced previous Paralympic Games, this part of the cycle is hugely exciting. These world championships represent the last real opportunity to test yourself in a competitive environment before the Games, so it’s a crucial milestone as everyone’s preparations for Tokyo intensify.”
Thornhill, who along with Scott won the women’s tandem kilo and sprint in Apeldoorn last year, added: “Having undergone hip surgery after last year’s worlds, these championships were always foremost in our minds in terms of a yardstick on the road to Tokyo. Helen and I have been pleased with our progression and our times since I returned, but testing ourselves on the global stage against our likely opponents for medals at the Paralympics will be a big opportunity and a challenge, and it’s one we’re looking forward to.”
Great Britain took home a total of 20 medals from the equivalent 2019 championships, a record-high number.
Jon Pett, Head of Para-cycling at British Cycling, said: “I’m excited to see what this team can deliver, as this event is an important milestone which will really start shaping the team for the Paralympic Games. We have selected a strong team with a focus on strengthening our qualification status and building momentum towards Tokyo, following the successes of each previous track world championships in this Paralympic cycle.”
The full squad to represent Great Britain at the 2020 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships:
Kadeena Cox (WC4)
Dame Sarah Storey (WC5)
Crystal Lane-Wright (WC5)
Sophie Thornhill and Helen Scott (WB)
Lora Fachie and Corrine Hall (WB)
Sam Ruddock (MC1)
Louis Rolfe (MC2)
Matthew Robertson (MC2)
Jaco van Gass (MC3)
Fin Graham (MC3)
Jody Cundy (MC4)
Jon-Allan Butterworth (MC5)
Will Bjergfelt (MC5)
Jon Gildea (MC5)
Blaine Hunt (MC5)
Neil Fachie and Matt Rotherham (MB)
James Ball and Lewis Stewart (MB)
Steve Bate and Adam Duggleby (MB)