Former Olympic road race champion Nicole Cooke retired from cycling with immediate effect on this day in 2013.

Cooke was a trailblazer for cycling in Britain and in 2008 became the first rider, male or female, to win Olympic and world road race gold in the same year.

Announcing the decision to call time on her 13-year career, the 10-time British champion said: “My time in the sport is finished. I am very happy with my career.

“I have many, many happy memories over what has been my life’s work since I was 12. I have won every race and more that I dreamed I could win.”

Her speech did not shy away from the dark side of cycling, however, addressing at length the doping scandals prevalent in the sport as well as the barriers to female riders.

Cooke, who retired at the age of 29, was a four-time world junior champion.

After turning professional, she won gold at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, before becoming the youngest rider to win the Giro d’Italia – aged 21 – in 2004 following on from triumph at the 2003 World Cup.

Cooke won Britain’s maiden gold of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing in heavy rain by the Great Wall of China – the first claimed by a Welsh athlete since 1972 – and backed that up with World Championship gold later that year in Italy.

Four years on, she was part of the team as Lizzie Armitstead won road race silver for Britain’s first medal of London 2012.

Cooke had thought she could put an indifferent four years behind her and mount a defence of her title, but finished only 31st.

Following her retirement, British Cycling president Brian Cookson said: “There is no doubt that Nicole has been a pioneering force in women’s cycling.”

Llori Sharpe has signed a one -year contract with a UCI Continental Cycling Team- L39ion of Los Angeles (L39ion pronounced Legion).

L39ion was founded in 2019 by brothers Justin and Cory Williams with the goal of increasing diversity and representation in cycling.

The “39” represents 39th Street in Los Angeles where the Williams brothers grew up. The duo are the masterminds behind the formation of the Miami Blazers in 2021 and the Austin Aviators in 2023 - based in Miami & Texas respectively.

The team includes both a women’s and men’s squad with riders from North and Latin America. The 2024 calendar of events commence in March through to December.

Sharpe previously competed for European club CANYON/SRAM.

With the change of teams, Sharpe will switch gears from longer more endurance-based races typical of the European peloton to shorter and faster-paced criterium racing.

Nonetheless Sharpe is excited about the transition and has been doing some base training during her off-season since October in preparation for the transition.

Chris Hoy was knighted in the New Year Honours List on this day in 2008 after winning three cycling gold medals at the Beijing Olympics.

In a move that broke with tradition, Hoy’s knighthood came while he was still competing and he took part in London 2012 as Sir Chris.

The Scot told the PA news agency: “To become a knight from riding your bike, it’s mad.

“But it is, genuinely, just an amazing honour, it’s also great for the sport.”

Hoy added that was just as pleased to see his mother Carol receive an MBE for her work on sleep-related illnesses.

Hoy was one of 10 Olympic cyclists to be honoured, while a number of Olympic coaches and officials were also recognised.

He went on to win two golds in London to take his tally to six before announcing his retirement in 2013.

Five-time gold medal winner Laura Kenny is targeting her fourth Olympics next year after the birth of her second child this summer.

Kenny, who has topped the podium in London, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo, has her eyes set on Paris as she is keen to prove motherhood is no reason to end her career after the arrival of their second son Monty in July.

“I obviously want to compete at the next Olympics. I know everyone thinks I’m absolutely mad in saying that, but if I don’t try, I’ll never know,” she told The Journey, the Team GB and Toyota docuseries.

“I would hate to be sat here thinking, ‘Well, I never even gave it a go to see if I could make it.’

“I hope both children see their mum as someone who was determined to make both things work.

“They will never have the burden of thinking, ‘Oh, mum had me and then ended her career.’ Because I didn’t. I carried on; I made it work.

“I hope they look back and they can see that, and see that from the day they were born, they were part of the journey.

“The two different comebacks between Albie and Monty have been so different.

“With Albie I came back feeling like I had a point to prove, that you could be a mum and be an Olympic champion all at the same time.

“I think this time, I’ve come back for me. I’ve come back because I love riding my bike and I cannot imagine it not being part of my life.”

Kenny gave birth to Albie in 2017 and after a miscarriage in 2021 and ectopic pregnancy early in 2022 she and husband Jason – a fellow Olympic champion cyclist – had a second son, Monty, in July this year.

“Having the ectopic was way worse than the miscarriage,” she added.

“It all happened so fast. I went to hospital thinking I had severe Covid and left just like ‘What the hell?’ having had a major operation when I didn’t know I was pregnant.

“It was all terrifying really. I struggled massively mentally after everything that we went through, and I’d say I probably wasn’t truly happy until I fell pregnant with Monty.”

Jamaica Cycling Federation (JCF) has moved to clear the air regarding matters involving national cyclist Dahlia Palmer and the absence of her coach Robert Farrier from the Pan American Games, where she won bronze in the women's keirin final in Chile recently.

The JCF in a widely circulated release started by addressing the issue of Palmer finding US$4,742.50 ($738,000) to fund her way to the Pan American Track Cycling Championships (PATCC). The federation pointed out that it is not unusual for any national cyclist to partly or completely self-fund their trips to various competitions as the federation is not able to fully fund all cyclists to all the needed competitions overseas.

It added that Palmer is one of twenty National Cyclists selected for national duties in 2023 across both cycling disciplines (track and road) and based on the recommendation of the JCF, she has been the recipient of the Solidarity Scholarship funded by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and managed through the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA).

"Dahlia has been a beneficiary of this scholarship for two consecutive Olympic cycles and the sole cyclist to benefit from this funding valued at USD15,000 annually. The federation has funded Dahlia Palmer to UCI Nations Cup appearances since late 2018 through to March 2022, totaling to amounts more than USD $37,345, not including the Solidarity funds," the JCF release said.

"It is important to note that in August 2023 the federation obtained sponsorship from the cycling community and was able send a Junior cyclist to the World Junior Track Cycling Championships. This was done to fulfill the mandatory requirement of the world cycling governing body UCI, in which Jamaica’s participation in this event will enable our elite track cyclist to participate in the World Track Cycling Championships in 2024 in the event they qualify, this includes Ms. Palmer," it stated.

Where Palmer’s personal coach, Farrier is concerned, the JCF explained that he is not a member of the federation and its appointed coaches. Farrier has also been said to have openly discredited, belittled, and denigrated the JCF board, local coaches and track athletes, which the JCF said resulted in his suspension and, by extension, his absence from the PanAm Games.

"Ahead of the team’s departure for the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games, a team meeting was convened. The national coach, members of the JCF board, athletes and their personal managers/coaches were in attendance. Mr. Farrier stated that if he was not selected to attend the games as coach, then Ms. Dahlia Palmer would not attend the games. He further
threatened to embarrass the JCF and the JOA before abruptly leaving the meeting, when told that the national coach selected to manage the team is the sole official from the federation based on the games accreditation calculator as stated by the JOA.

"Mr. Farrier was then advised that based on his behavior the JCF would not consider him for national accreditation to accompany selected cyclist to represent Jamaica internationally for a minimum of 12-months and asked that he provide a written apology to both the JOA and the JCF. A suspension of this nature is in keeping with code of conduct guidelines set out by the global cycling body UCI. Subsequently the JOA requested a meeting with the JCF and Dahlia Palmer to discuss her withdrawal from the CAC games. Ms. Palmer refused to attend the meeting without her coach, Mr. Farrier," the JCF explained.

According to the JCF, on September 20, 2023, an attorney representing Palmer and Farrier contested the issue of his suspension and refusal of accreditation to the PanAm Games.

Following her medal winning exploit, Palmer expressed some semblance of fulfilment due to the fact that Farrier had to give her instructions while watching the Games on television in Trinidad and Tobago, where they are based.

However, the JCF explained that his absence could have been avoided.

"Information regarding the threat of a lawsuit Palmer/Farrier vs JCF was posted by SportsMax.TV on September 22, and a TVJ feature on September 27, which included an interview with Palmer/Farrier’s attorney. There were exchanges between both attorneys on the matter. The JCF agreed to accredit Mr. Farrier on condition that he provides a written apology to the JCF and the JOA for his behavior, and that this should be shared in the same medium in which the matter was made public by Palmer/Farrier themselves or their respective agents.

"Mr. Farrier refused to issue a public apology and, as such was not accredited to accompany Ms. Palmer for the PanAm Games. The national coach, Carlton Simmonds, was accredited to attend the PanAm Games to support Ms. Palmer. Ms. Palmer, however, refused any assistance or contact with the assigned coach and opted to be coached remotely by her personal coach, Robert Farrier," the JCF shared, adding that it remains committed to supporting all national cyclists, and also congratulated Palmer on her achievement.

Sir Chris Hoy believes Katie Archibald is on track for next summer’s Paris Olympics after seeing her storm to overall victory in the UCI Track Champions League.

Two-time Olympic champion Archibald admitted she was far from her best at the World Championships in Glasgow in August, when the intense spotlight of a home worlds came as she was still coming to terms with the tragic loss of her partner Rab Wardell 12 months earlier.

But just a few months later, the 29-year-old Scot showed her class to win the Champions League crown for a second time, wrapping up her victory during the final two rounds in London at the weekend.

“It’s incredibly impressive,” Hoy told the PA news agency. “We’re starting to see that spark coming back, the smile, the enjoyment of the racing. Just life coming back into her after what was an incredibly difficult year.

“She wasn’t at her best at the world championships and I think this is a significant step forward from the worlds and it really does bode well for what is a massively important year for her and for the team.

“And they need her. The team really does rely on a few big-name individuals, not to carry the team but to inspire the team.

“When the big names are firing and on form it lifts everyone else, so she’s absolutely central to the British Cycling campaign and it’s looking good.

“I think she’s definitely getting better and getting to where she needs to be.”

The made-for-TV Champions League, which has just completed its third season, sees endurance riders like Archibald compete in two races per round, the scratch race and the elimination.

It is a long way from the team pursuit and the Madison that Archibald will aim for in Paris, and comprises only two of the four elements of the omnium, but it will be a significant confidence booster all the same.

“This is not a direct comparison to those events but it almost doesn’t matter,” added Hoy, who is an ambassador for the Champions League.

“It’s about how she’s responding to the competition and getting inspired by the crowd and just starting to bring back that spark and getting her life back on track after what she’s been through.

“As a rider you want to use the event in the right way. I would want to come in and see it as an opportunity to learn about my rivals, see them in some different situations and try different tactics.


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“If it doesn’t work out it’s not the end of the world, you’ve not missed out on a world title or an Olympic medal, but having said that the overall Champions League jersey and trophy is a massive thing now, it’s being recognised.”


Although star names like Archibald and Dutch sprinter Harrie Lavreysen drew the crowds, this season saw arguably the weakest field yet contest the Champions League with several riders preferring to focus their training elsewhere as the clock ticks down to Paris.

However, Hoy said he believed the still young series – which aims to elevate the profile of track cycling beyond the Olympics and annual world championships – is developing well.

“I think it’s pretty close to what I hoped it would be,” he said. “I think they’ve delivered exactly what they promised and probably more.

“This year it’s been a challenge with it being an Olympic year but the organisers aren’t trying to hide that, and I think next year there will be a rebound when, post-Olympics, riders are freed of the pressure and stress of an Olympic year and they want to go out and ride their bikes and have fun.”

Will Perrett knows he faces an uphill battle in his bid to make Great Britain’s Olympic squad next summer but the 27-year-old is well accustomed to fighting against the odds.

Perrett will be back at the Lee Valley Velodrome this weekend for the final two rounds of the UCI Track Champions League, 11 months after a stunning victory in the men’s scratch race here helped him force his way on to Britain’s podium programme.

At the time, Perrett had quit his job and was self-funding in a bid to prove himself to the national team coaches, and his Champions League display came after he had taken a points race fifth on his World Championships debut and won the British Madison title alongside Mark Stewart.

It worked and in January he was invited in to train full-time as part of the elite programme.

But nothing has come easily for Perrett and a fresh setback was just ahead. In March he was diagnosed with glandular fever as a result of the Epstein-Barr virus.

“Initially I was just incredibly ill,” Perrett told the PA news agency. “I had tonsillitis-esque symptoms and incredible fatigue. I’d go for a walk around the block, come back and sleep for an hour. It was horrible. You feel a bit helpless.”

Had it happened while Perrett was funding himself, the illness could have ended his elite racing career.

“I would have been absolutely screwed,” he said. “If I’d not been on the programme I wouldn’t have been able to race, I wouldn’t even have been able to work because I was so tired. It could have ended everything.


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“That’s a massive benefit of being on the programme. You get so much help from the doctors, the coaches. They’ve not been pushy. They’ve said, ‘Look, we need to rebuild your foundations and then build you back up.’ That’s what I’m hoping to do this winter.”


Perrett believes he is still missing around five per cent of his threshold – a massive number at the elite end.

Yet he was able to claim another fifth place in the points race at the World Championships in Glasgow and earn another invitation to the Champions League, the glitzy made-for-television series which is in its third season.

Perrett struggled for results in the opening three rounds in Mallorca, Berlin and Paris as he works his way back up to speed, but will come to London for the sold-out finale on Friday and Saturday buoyed by memories of last December.

“I’ve been a bit ropey after a bit of time off after the worlds but I’ve loved being back (in the Champions League),” he said. “It’s good fun, the racing and the atmosphere.”


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There will be plenty of British interest in London, with defending champion Katie Archibald top of the women’s endurance standings, Emma Finucane third in the women’s sprint, and Will Tidball and Stewart fourth and fifth respectively in the men’s endurance.

Perrett’s goal is to keep plugging away for form as he eyes selection for the Euros in January. He remains an outsider for Paris as only four male endurance riders will go, meaning those four must be competitive in the team pursuit, but a chance is all he asks for.

“At the moment I haven’t got the results or the experience at that level of team pursuiting,” he said. “Only four riders go to the Olympics. It’s a crazy stupid rule. The Madison is a 200-lap, 50 minute event but to get into that you have to be able to get into the one that lasts three minutes 45 seconds.

“It’s a stupid rule but it’s the one you have to aim towards…But I have an opportunity and as long as I get the opportunity, that’s what matters.”

Kieran Reilly has talked up his chances of winning a BMX freestyle gold at the Olympic Games next year, following a series of landmark victories in 2023.

The 22-year-old from Gateshead said victory in Paris was “always going to be the goal” and he does not have his “head in the clouds” as focus turns to the showpiece event.

Reilly won the National BMX Freestyle Championships in Nottingham last month, which added to the gold medals he won at the European Games in Krakow in June and the UCI Cycling World Championships in Glasgow in August, beating reigning Olympic champion Logan Martin in the latter.

He shot to fame in January 2021 after breaking a world record by completing the world’s first triple flair on a BMX.

Reilly, a Red Bull athlete, told the PA news agency: “I think the year I’ve had this year, the biggest growth for me has been confidence, learning so much about myself that I can beat these riders who, growing up, [were] guys that I idolised.

“It took a while to really flip the switch on my mindset and want to beat these guys, and I’ve done that this year at the biggest events.

“Everyone who attended the Tokyo Olympics was at the World Championships in Glasgow, and if beating the Olympic champion wasn’t going to give me the confidence to beat him at the Olympics then I don’t know what was.”

BMX freestyle will appear at the Olympics for a second time after making its debut at the Tokyo 2020 games, with a total of 24 riders – 12 men and 12 women – competing at La Concorde Urban Park in Paris.

Two qualifying events in Shanghai and Budapest will be held in May and June next year to determine who will appear at the Games, but Reilly said the showpiece event was already firmly in his thoughts.

“The competitive mindset I have, the second I qualify for these Games the mindset and goal switches from getting there to getting gold and that’s always going to be the goal,” he continued.

“I think that gold is a good goal for me – I haven’t got my head in the clouds thinking that, and when I get to Paris that’s going to be what I’ve got my sights set on.”

It is likely that those two events will be only competitive BMX meets before the Olympics and Reilly acknowledged “there’s a lot of unknown” going into the Games, but he insisted he hopes to debut some new tricks of his own and would “have some surprises” ready for Paris.

He is currently practising these tricks at his training base – Adrenaline Alley in Corby, Northamptonshire – but this remains one of very few purpose-built professional riding areas in England.

Reilly said BMX was now at a position where it deserves greater investment in facilities, particularly with the UK’s recent success in competitions and its growing popularity.

He said: “Now I think, on the British Cycling Team, we have seven or eight guys and three girls and they all are podium potential at the Games and at every single World Cup.

“We have arguably the biggest [and] one of the most competitive teams of riders going into any of these events, so it almost makes sense for a sport where we have this potential to dominate, why wouldn’t you try and find that missing factor and help with facilities?”

Reilly stressed the investment was even more critical as more people now take BMX seriously alongside more established sports, such as football and swimming.

He added: “Now parents are pushing their kids into it. It was more of a hobby that parents weren’t really supporting.

“A lot of kids went into playing football for a Saturday team and riding their bikes was just a side hobby. Now parents have seen that you can have a career in this sport.

“I’ve seen a lot more parents at the skate park now rooting on their kids and entering their kids in amateur competitions.”

A series of unstoppable performances on the International Cycling Union (UCI) circuits in Canada and Germany, followed by a classy display at the PanAm Elite Track Cycling Championships in Argentina, a performance which complemented a gold medal win at last year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Add to that another double medal-winning performance at the Pan American (PanAm) Games in Santiago, Chile.

For many, that would more than represent a successful cycling career. But for Trinidad and Tobago's Nicholas Paul, this is only the beginning. In fact, despite his many successes to date, Paul still views his career as a work in progress, possibly because he is still hunting that one prize or moment to really define things and that is the Olympic Games dream.

Much like he did at the PanAm Elite Track Cycling Championships in Argentina where he won the Sprints and Keirin, while clocking a new track record 9.349 seconds in the flying 200m, Paul once again demonstrated his qualities as one of the best track cyclists in the world when he won gold in the final of the Men’s Sprint at the 2023 Pan American Games.

The outstanding 25-year-old out-paced his rival Jair Tjon of Suriname to top the podium, while Kevin Santiago Qunitero Chavarro of Colombia bettered Canada’s Nicholas John Wammes in the race for the bronze medal.

For Paul, the win added to his Pan Am Games title won in Lima, Peru in 2019 and he rightly expressed delight at the accomplishments.

“Firstly I would like to thank God for a safe meet. I am very pleased with my performance at this stage of the season because my preparation coming into the Pan-American Games was really good, and so I knew it was all left to my execution as the key factor which would determine how things would turnout.

“Fortunately, I executed well both in the flying 200m and the Sprints achieving some excellent results. Creating a new games record is always a special moment for me and my country,” Paul told

The modest twin island republic cyclist returned a day later to cop a silver medal in the Men’s Keirin final.

On that occasion, Paul used his electric sprint speed in the final lap to power himself to second place, after falling behind the pack with a couple of laps remaining in the six-lap event.

The event was won by Colombia's Kevin Quintero, the reigning world champion in the event, while Mexico's Juan Ruiz Teran was third.

Paul, who has been a model of consistency throughout the season, attributed his continuous improvement and, by extension, success to the time spent in training honing his craft.

“It’s means a lot to me just to know that my hard work is paying off and I’m able to show the world that Trinidad and Tobago has a lot of talent. Like I said before, my preparations for the PanAm Games have been great and so I am pleased that I was able to accomplish all my goals to an extent,” he shared.

That said, Paul hinted at the possibility of much more to come, as he intends to continue pushing the limits and discover what he is truly able to achieve –next year’s Olympic Games in Paris being his next immediate target.

“It’s all a work in progress, my plan is to build on this performance and to do so, I intend to keep putting in those hard hours to keep getting stronger and faster. My overall goal for this year and beyond is to firstly qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games and secondly, try to win a medal or medals at the Olympic Games for Trinidad and Tobago. But for now, the focus is some much-needed rest and recovery," Paul declared.

Great Britain sprinter Joe Truman knows he has a point to prove as he targets an Olympic debut in Paris next summer.

The 26-year-old saw his Tokyo dream dashed by a back injury which hampered him for the best part of two years, and his return to action did not go smoothly either – he was knocked out cold in a high-speed crash in the keirin at the Commonwealth Games last summer.

But those frustrations are now fuelling Truman as he looks to fulfil his long-standing ambition to represent Great Britain at the Olympics.

“I feel like I’ve missed a lot of opportunities,” Truman told the PA news agency.


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“Even at the Commonwealth Games last year, I was looking forward to racing in the sprint and the kilo (time trial) which I never got to do.

“I think I’ve got a point to prove but I’m just going out to make myself better. If for the next eight months I can go into every week smashing it, doing whatever I can, leaving no stone unturned, then I’ve nowhere to hide really.

“My main motivation is to put right the opportunities I’ve missed for various reasons. It is very good fuel really. You don’t want to end your career with any ‘what ifs’ so I’m really putting my best into every session.”

Truman’s ambitions have led him to the UCI Track Champions League, the made-for-TV series which is midway through its third season, as he looks to build up his race experience.

This is the first year the Champions League has taken place in a pre-Olympic year and although organisers moved it forward by a month, a number of star riders nevertheless chose to sit out this season to not disrupt their training. Truman took the opposite view.


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“(Getting to Paris) would be massive,” he said. “It would be making good on eight years’ work. That’s what I want most out of the next year, and that’s the reason I’m here.

“Some others didn’t want to do it because they didn’t think it would be good preparation but I saw it as the opposite. It’s a good opportunity to get some race practices in. For me, in the keirin, the Commonwealth Games I’ve only ridden the keirin once.

“I really need to get some more experience because I want to go to the Games competitive in all events, not just the team sprint, so something like this has a lot of positives in it.”

After years of setbacks, Truman feels like he is approaching his best form again at just the right time.

He surprised himself with a time of 59.092 in the one kilometre time trial at the World Championships in Glasgow in August, narrowly missing out on a medal.

At the opening round of the Champions League in Mallorca last month, he made it to the semi-finals of the sprint and came out of the night in fourth place overall in the men’s sprint standings.

Although there was disappointment a week later in Berlin, Truman will approach Paris this weekend with optimism before his primary target – the closing two rounds in London on November 10-11.

And Truman said the competition, which is an invitation-only event based on results, was a good environment to try new things.

“It’s a big occasion, televised worldwide and good crowds, especially in London where I want to show my nose, but it’s a strange mix – you’re not expecting much from yourself physically but mentally you want to go well,” he said.

“The best training is when you’ve got a number on your back. That’s when you get the best out of yourself.”

Trinidadian cyclist Nicholas Paul followed up his Men’s Sprint gold medal at the 2023 Pan Am Games in Santiago, Chile with a silver medal in the Men’s Keirin final on Friday.

The 25-year-old, who won gold in the men's sprint event at the Velodromo Penalolen on Thursday, used his electric sprint speed in the final lap to power himself to second place, after falling behind the pack with a couple of laps remaining in the six-lap event.

The keirin final was won by Colombia's Kevin Quintero, the reigning world champion in the event, while Mexico's Juan Ruiz Teran finished in third spot.

Paul also took Keirin gold at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Nicholas Paul of Trinidad and Tobago once again demonstrated his qualities as one of the best track cyclists in the world when he won gold in the final of the Men’s Sprint at the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile on Thursday.

The outstanding 25-year-old Trinidadian out-paced his rival Suriname’s Jair Tjon to claim gold and his second Pan Am Games title to go with the one he won in Lima, Peru in 2019.

In the race for the bronze medal, Kevin Santiago Qunitero Chavarro of Colombia bettered Canada’s Nicholas John Wammes.

Cyclist Dahlia Palmer won Jamaica’s first medal at the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile on Wednesday when she placed third in the final of the Women’s Keirin.

Palmer, who has been at loggerheads with the Jamaica Cycling Federation over a ban imposed on her coach, Robert Farrier, produced a strong performance which saw her finish 0.286s behind gold medallist Martha Bayona Pineda of Colombia.

Mexico’s Daniela Gaxiola Gonzales Luz won the silver medal.

In September, lawyers of New City Chambers, representing Palmer issued a final written warning to the Jamaican Cycling Federation. The letter threatened legal action against the federation unless they reconsider their suspension of Ms. Palmer's coach, Mr. Robert Farrier, and permit his attendance at the 2023 Pan Am Games and future events.

It is unclear whether the matter has been resolved.


Emma Finucane is trying to ignore her new status as sprint world champion as she sets her sights on achieving Olympic glory in Paris next summer.

The 20-year-old Welshwoman shocked herself when she took the women’s individual sprint title in Glasgow in August, beating Germany’s favoured Lea Friedrich in the final.

Finucane donned the rainbow jersey for the first time in competition at the UCI Track Champions League opening round in Mallorca this weekend, but while the distinctive striped jersey means she can no longer keep herself inconspicuous, she does not want it to change her approach.


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“People will look at me now,” Finucane told the PA news agency. “Last year I was kind of the underdog and I just came through so now I am wearing the stripes. I hope that doesn’t really change anything.

“I’m just trying to ignore it and just race my bike, but there is some external pressure. I’m not just Emma at the back of the field anymore.”

The rainbow jersey can do different things for different riders. While many take it as a confidence boost, for others the stripes have worn heavily. Finucane said she had spoken to several Great Britain team-mates about how to deal with it.

“I don’t want to look at it (as giving me a psychological edge) because if I lose, then what?” she said. “And I will get beaten, and that’s fine. I just need to take it as it comes.

“Half of it is the mental battle of putting it on and people looking at you and having that pressure, but I’m trying to embrace it and enjoy it because you don’t know if it will happen again.

“Beth Shriever is a really good friend of mine and she’s been the BMX world and Olympic champion. She said she didn’t have the best year in the rainbow jersey because she put too much pressure on herself and she overthought it.

“I’ve spoken to Evie (Richards, 2021 mountain bike world champion) and Katie Archibald (a five-time world champion on the track) and I’m lucky we have so many inspiring women in the Great Britain team. It’s great I can learn from them but ultimately I will only learn from myself and how I deal with it.”

And Finucane believes the Champions League – the made-for-TV track cycling series which is in its third season – is the ideal place to do much of that learning, providing some top-level competition without the stresses and pressures that come elsewhere.

“The next event I’ll do in the rainbows is the Euros (in January) which is when everything is serious,” she said. “I’m not saying this isn’t serious, but it’s a nice place to be free to fail. You can try new things.”

Saturday’s racing in Palma saw Finucane finish second in the sprint, beaten by Germany’s Alessa-Catriona Propster, before failing to make the keirin final through some tired legs. But it was just the sort of experience she was looking for when it came to dealing with her new status.

Finucane will wear the stripes into an Olympic year but despite her status is taking nothing, not even squad selection, for granted.

“Nothing is guaranteed,” she said. “I’d love to go and I’m really pushing myself but I need to take each race as it comes. If I just think about Paris and everything else goes wrong I’ll not be going.

“But it’s in the back of my mind because since I was 10 years old I’ve wanted to ride the Olympics.

“As the GB sprint team we’ll not just be going there to ride but we’re looking for medals and I fully believe we have the potential to win. It’s super exciting but also super scary.”

Bermuda’s Conor White won his country’s first medal at the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, when he claimed the bronze medal in the Men’s Individual Time Trial on Sunday.

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