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Barker starts busy cycling season with World Champs win

AFTER winning in dramatic style at the track cycling World Championships last week, Elinor Barker is now preparing for a hectic season of road racing.  

The Cardiff rider, who is an Olympic, two-time world and four-time European champion in the team pursuit, as well as a world champion in the points race and scratch race, joined Drops Cycling for 2019. 

Barker, 24, who began cycling with Maindy Flyers, won gold at the women’s scratch race at the UCI track cycling World Championships in Poland after narrowly avoiding a crash which took out a number of nearby riders.

Bob Varney, Team Director at Drops Cycling said: “We were all delighted for Elinor, she has been a popular addition to the squad.”  

Mr Varney said that the relaxed but professional environment at the team provides the “perfect foil” for Barker who is often in the public eye due to her track and Olympic ambitions.  

“We are keen for her to have some downtime after the worlds before building up for a sustained period of road racing where she may debut for us in Luxembourg at the Elsy Jacobs Festival,” he added. 

Elsy Jacobs was a Luxembourgian cyclist who became the first ever women’s World Road Champion when she won the inaugural race in 1958.  

Drops Cycling lost their title sponsor Trek last year and endured a stressful off-season as they searched for replacement sponsors and funding to keep the team afloat for the 2019 season. 

The British team were ultimately saved thanks to a crowd-funding campaign.  

“Elinor has been a secret admirer of our programme for some time and we tried to sign her in 2017,” said Mr Varney.

“We kept a dialogue going throughout last season and we’re delighted to finally have the opportunity to work together.”  

After her win last week Barker, a former Llanishen High School pupil, said that she had come close to quitting the sport about six months ago after falling out of love with it. 

It is set to be an intense season for Barker at her new team, with stage race action at the Amgen Tour of California, Thuringen Rundfarht and potentially the Women’s Tour in June.  

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