Joanna Rowsell: Pearl Izumi move helps Olympic cycling bid

By David McDaidBBC Olympic sports reporter
Joanna Rowsell
Joanna Rowsell won gold for England in the individual pursuit at this year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow

Olympic track champion Joanna Rowsell is switching road team to help her 2016 Olympics team pursuit aspirations.

The 25-year-old Briton will leave Wiggle-Honda for British team Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International on a two-year deal from 2015.

"This gives me the flexibility to decide my own race plans, which is really important while preparing for the Olympics," she told BBC Sport.

"The UK women's cycling scene is the place to be now."

Rowsell will link up at Pearl Izumi with her good friend and multiple Paralympic champion Dame Sarah Storey, who owns the team with her husband Barney.

The announcement comes the week after fellow Olympic gold medallist Laura Trott said she too was leaving Wiggle-Honda for Matrix Fitness Vulpine.

"I think Laura's got similar feelings to me in that we're now leading up to the Olympics and we want to maximise our possibilities of being in that GB team and winning again in Rio," Rowsell said.

Joanna Rowsell, Dani King, Laura Trott
Rowsell (r) won Olympic gold in the team pursuit at London 2012 alongside Dani King (l) and Laura Trott

Rowsell, who won team pursuit gold at London 2012, said there was a lot to do before the next Games.

"From the outside people seem to think that we're team pursuit Olympic champions, world champions and we're going to have the next Olympics in the bag," she said.

"But it's very far from that in that the rest of the world is catching up with us. So we have our work cut out to win at the Olympics."

Rowsell will compete alongside a host of Olympic and world champions at the British Cycling National Track Championshipsexternal-link from 24 to 28 September in Manchester.

In the women's endurance events, Rowsell, Trott and Dani King will be joined by world champions Elinor Barker and Katie Archibald, while Jess Varnish will defend the four titles she took in 2013 in the sprint events.

In the men's events, Olympic champion Jason Kenny will be the man to beat in the sprint competitions as he looks to repeat his triple title success of 2013, while Steven Burke and former world champion Andy Tennant headline the endurance events.

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