Tuesday 23 January 2018

Houvenaghel aiming to bounce back

Wendy Houvenaghel is eager to impress at the World Championships
Wendy Houvenaghel is eager to impress at the World Championships

Wendy Houvenaghel will represent Great Britain at the UCI Road World Championships in Holland on Tuesday, little more than a month after leaving the Olympics distraught.

The 37-year-old from Northern Ireland was not selected for any of the three rides in the women's team pursuit competition, won by Joanna Rowsell, Laura Trott and Dani King, therefore missing out on a gold medal, and labelled the decision "vindictive".

Houvenaghel refocused and won the British Championships road time-trial earlier this month before a win in the prestigious Chrono Champenois event in Betheny, France last week confirmed her selection alongside Emma Pooley in the 24.3-kilometre time-trial in Limburg.

She was reluctant to discuss the Olympic fall-out and thanked British Cycling's women's road coach Chris Newton for supporting her selection.

"I was pleasantly surprised to get the call to represent Great Britain in the time-trial at these World Championships," Houvenaghel said. "I've spent most of the year training for a three-minute team pursuit effort and over the last four weeks I've just applied myself to time-trialling. I'm keen to get racing tomorrow.

"I've just thrown myself into my training the last few weeks and here I am in Valkenburg. The time has passed quite quickly since the Games and I've been busy focusing on various races. I haven't been in touch with any of the members of staff.

"I'm just focusing on my own race and that's my priority while I'm out here."

Despite her whole focus being on 12 laps of a 250m Siberian pine track, Houvenaghel is confident of springing a surprise in the race, which takes place near Maastricht.

"I am optimistic, otherwise I wouldn't be here," she added. "I will give it everything I've got and I'll just do my best and see where my performance takes me.

"The course is very rolling and there are a couple of quite steep climbs. I am good at climbing; in any of the time-trials where there have been hills I've done very well. That shouldn't pose too much of a problem for me."

Press Association

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