SOUTHAMPTON’S Dani King can be a force on the track for years to come, according to British Cycling’s head coach Shane Sutton.
The 21-year-old from Hamble turned herself into a household name with a gold medal performance in the women’s team pursuit at London 2012, alongside Laura Trott and Joanna Rowsell.
The trio broke the world record in each of their three rides in the Olympic velodrome, turning in one of the most dominant displays of the entire Games.
That was perhaps no surprise, given that they headed into the event as the reigning European and world champions.
But their performance in London elevated the girls to a whole new level.
Despite the potential distraction of her new-found celebrity status, Sutton – one of the masterminds behind Great Britain’s Olympic success on two wheels – believes King still has the hunger for more.
“At this moment in time I think we have a dominant women’s programme that will go on for many years to come, with the likes of Laura, Jo and Dani still being very young,” he said.
“They have won a lot already and have propelled themselves to greatness, but the hunger is still there.
“Someone like Dani, maybe the general public didn’t know much about her but they certainly do now.
“With this comes other things, TV appearances and everything like that, but I don’t worry about that affecting Dani because she is still very young and loves cycling, it is still fun for her.
“They can really leave a legacy to be proud of for all time and I think that burns inside them, so don’t expect them to take it easy any time soon – especially Dani.”
While in London, King was part of a trio. Moving forward, that will become a foursome, racing over 4,000m, not 3,000m, much like the men do.
And Sutton believes that while Great Britain will have no trouble filling the vacancy, such is the talent on offer on these shores, King’s ability will be even more important to make the adjustment as smooth as possible.
“It is not hugely out there in the public domain, but the women’s team pursuit is going to move to four girls and it will be over 4k,” Sutton added.
“We have got Lucy Garner who has now won on the road at the world championships two years in a row, we also have Elinor Barker, who won the junior women’s time-trial, and Hannah Barnes, to name just three.
“So that is a conveyor belt filled with talent but sometimes talent isn’t enough and that is where someone like Dani will become very important with her experience and, although she is young, I fully expect her to help out on that side of things too.”