Olympic champion and freshly crowned European team pursuit winner Joanna Rowsell Shand believes British cycling will peak again in Rio.
Carshalton’s Rowsell Shand was one of Britain’s many heroes from London 2012 – winning team pursuit gold as the home nation dominated the track cycling event at the Velodrome.
February’s world track cycling championships were not so successful as Britain failed to claim any gold medals, but the 26-year-old believes the dip in performance will help ensure Team GB once again dominate the Olympics.
“We all know how to raise our game in Olympic year, and it can be difficult to keep your foot on the gas for a full four years,” she said.
“We have got it right before and I am confident we will get it right again.”
They started to get it right at last week’s European track championships in Switzerland, where Rowsell Shand, Laura Trott, Kate Archibald and Elinor Barker defeated Russia in four minutes 17.010 seconds.
But Rowsell Shand still refused to get carried away.
“We are under no illusions we will have it all our own way as traditionally the strongest nations in women’s team pursuit have been Australia, Canada, America and New Zealand,” she said.
“In just over a week we travel to Cali, Colombia for the first round of the World Cup series, so that will be a better test of how our training has worked when we can compare ourselves to the rest of the world.”
Rowsell Shand has had a busy summer. She got married to banker Dan Shand and suffered a gruelling new training regime as British Cycling ratcheted up the intensity with less than a year until Rio.
“It feels great to hear the commentators say my new married name Joanna Rowsell Shand and I am proud to race with my new name,” she added.
“Unfortunately Dan wasn’t able to travel to Switzerland with the racing being mid-week he had to work.”
Tying the knot certainly has not dimmed her commitment to training.
“We have all been working hard all summer and have been 100% focussed on the winter track season, as opposed to any summer racing targets,” she said.