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King and Trott target third successive world title
11:56am Monday 28th January 2013 in Sport
Olympic champion Joanna Rowsell is confident Great Britain can win a fifth Track Cycling World Championships team pursuit title in six years in her absence next month after opting to focus on the road in 2013.
After consultation with British Cycling performance director Sir Dave Brailsford and women's endurance coach Paul Manning, Rowsell decided to take a break from the velodrome this winter, meaning she will be miss next month's World Championships in Minsk, Belarus.
The women's team pursuit is to change from three women and three kilometres to four riders and 4km after this season, with Rowsell hoping to slot back into position in time for 2014 and then the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016.
Rowsell's fellow Olympic champions Laura Trott and Hamble's Dani King will go in search of their third successive world title in Minsk and will be joined by either Elinor Barker, who rode in Rowsell's place in November's Glasgow Track World Cup, or Amy Roberts.
"I'm fully confident they're going to win," three-time world champion Rowsell told Press Association Sport.
"They won the Glasgow World Cup with very limited preparation.
"Seeing Elinor ride there made me think 'it's okay, they're going to be fine'.
"Elinor's a fantastic talent and also Amy Roberts. Riders like Elinor and Amy need that sort of experience because next year we're going to need four riders anyway."
Rowsell won her first world title in 2008, aged 19, before the event became an Olympic discipline.
Given the expansion of the team pursuit, Rowsell is confident of reclaiming her place when she returns to the track, but for now her focus is on the road.
Like Rowsell, all four have been signed up to the Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team, which is the brain-child of Australian Commonwealth champion Rochelle Gilmore and is supported by Sir Bradley Wiggins, through his foundation.
Rowsell will turn domestique and do her utmost to help the team leaders, including Gilmore and two-time world road race champion Giorgia Bronzini.
The 24-year-old, who has twice reached the podium at the British Road Race Championships, added: "I want to push myself out of my comfort zone."
The team time-trial at the World Road Championships in Florence, Italy, where Wiggle Honda will compete together, is a target, and at next year's Glasgow Commonwealth Games Rowsell could ride on the track and the road for England.
The Cheam rider added: "There's no team pursuit for women, so we're all going to be individual events anyway.
"The individual pursuit on the track is something that excites me and it might be interesting to do the road events as well."