Elinor Barker targets world title at Cycling Esports World Championships

Cycling

Olympic champion Elinor Barker already has an impressive medal collection with 15 major titles in track cycling.

And she is aiming to add to it on Wednesday with a maiden Esports world championship crown.

Barker is part of a nine-strong GB team who will race over a 50km course via virtual racing platform Zwift at the inaugural championships.

“An Esport title would be very bizarre – and very 2020 – but also quite special,” she told BBC Sport.

The 26-year-old Welsh cyclist added: “It’s been really hard this year making the sacrifices that you need to do in order to prepare for events and then see them cancelled, so I’ll never take anything for granted again.”

Men and women will compete over the same route in a separate first-over-the-line scratch race format with winners being awarded both a physical rainbow jersey for themselves and a digital version for their in-game avatar to use over the following 12 months.

Barker’s sister Megan is also part of the British team and they will be joined by 14-time Paralympic champion Dame Sarah Storey as well as triple Olympic gold medallist Ed Clancy and former world champion Andy Tennant at the event organised by the sport’s world governing body, the UCI.

“Even though it’s virtual and you won’t have people racing side-by-side it should be an exciting event,” said Barker.

“You have road world champions, track world champions and Paralympic champions, all sorts of people on the start line with all different backgrounds so it’ll be interesting to see who comes out on top on the day.”

Last month Barker took home two European Championship titles, which was her first major competition since winning world points race gold in March.

She will continue her build-up to the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics at the Nations Cup in Newport in April.

“I am so unbelievably excited for next year and the Olympics are going to mean so much more as you’re going to have so many hungry athletes just bursting for that competition who have had to wait an extra 12 months,” she said.

“It’s something the whole world can look forward to and I hope a vaccine will mean we can have crowds, but if it doesn’t it will still be a massively special event.”

The Great Britain team for the UCI Cycling Esports World Championships:

Women

Dame Sarah Storey

Elinor Barker

Megan Barker

Dani Christmas

Jenny Holl

Men

Ed Clancy

Max Stedman

Andy Tennant

Robert Scott

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