New-look team pursuit working in tandem already, believes Roberts

·3-min read
Great Britain are without Laura Kenny and Katie Archibald with Kenny taking a break from cycling while Archibald is still recovering from the injury that saw her miss the Commonwealth Games
Great Britain are without Laura Kenny and Katie Archibald with Kenny taking a break from cycling while Archibald is still recovering from the injury that saw her miss the Commonwealth Games

By Will Jennings in Munich

Jess Roberts reckons Britain’s new-look team pursuit stars have hit it off straight away at this week’s European Championships.

The Welsh cycling star, 23, joined forces with Neah Evans, Pfeiffer Georgi, Josie Knight and Anna Morris in Munich to finish fourth in qualifying and book their place in Friday’s heats.

The British team has a fresh look to it for this week’s event after five-time Olympic champion Laura Kenny pulled out to seek a break from cycling and Katie Archibald, who grabbed golds in Rio and Tokyo, withdrew due to injury.

Roberts has been thrust into the deep end with more experienced riders but says she’s feeling at home ahead of Friday’s showdown against Germany.

The two-time European Games medallist said: “Our first training session was quite interesting, but we’ve been so much better in the space of two days.

“We pulled together quite a good ride in qualifying today.

“We’ll keep hunting for a medal, build on what we’ve done today and hopefully get in a medal final.

“It’s nice for me to step into the podium squad and ride with the Olympic riders.

“We’ve not really ridden together but we’ve gelled together pretty well and put together a solid ride.”

The British team finished fourth behind Germany, Italy and France at the Munich velodrome and know they will have to be at their best if they are to topple the hosts on Friday.

The Germans finished over five seconds ahead of Roberts’ team in qualifying as foreign riders continue to adapt to Munich’s considerably shorter 200m track.

Roberts flew the Welsh flag at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games before pivoting her attention towards the European Championships, an innovative multi-sport event at Munich’s 1972 Olympic Park that features nine sports across an 11-day period.

And she added: “The Commonwealth Games were amazing – I love riding for Wales and it’s always such a fun trip.

“I’m always really proud to pull on the Welsh jersey.

“It’s been quite a busy couple of week – Commonwealths first before coming straight here.

“It’s been a good but busy few weeks.”

Teammate Evans, part of the British team pursuit team who won Olympic silver in Tokyo, added: “We know there’s a lot more to give and for us to work as a team.

“We have literally come off Commonwealth Games, lots of different nations and come straight here.

“There isn’t a huge expectation for us among people who know team pursuit.

“But we still put pressure on ourselves – we want to use this as a stepping stone for the Worlds.”

The multi-sport European Championships Munich 2022, featuring Athletics, Beach Volleyball, Canoe Sprint, Cycling, Gymnastics, Table Tennis, Triathlon, Rowing, Sport Climbing, takes place 11th-21st August on the 50th anniversary of the Olympics Games in the German city. Follow online at bbc.co.uk/sport