Cycling: Varnish aims to shine in Glasgow after London low


Jess Varnish stood out at the London Olympics. It was the 21-year-old who took the Mark Cavendish mantle – the one nobody wanted to settle on their shoulders; like the Manxman in Beijing, Varnish was the lonely unfortunate among Britain's garlanded cyclists, the one who did not win a medal amid the happy clamour of the velodrome.

Of Dave Brailsford's dozen sent onto the track over the course of six glorious days in London, Varnish was not only the only one not to scale the highest peak of the podium, she did not even make it onto the lower steps. What made the whole experience even more painful is that she was not beaten, instead she and Victoria Pendleton were disqualified, dismissed from the team sprint when gold appeared theirs for the taking – they had broken their own world record in qualifying for an ill-fated semi-final.

This morning in the second round of the Track World Cup in Glasgow in the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, she will ride in front of a home crowd for the first time since she and Pendleton got their judgement wrong by one one hundredth of a second. This evening, barring a horrible repeat, she will expect to finish the night on the podium and take another step on the road to redemption in Rio in four years time. "I don't think that anyone who gets disqualified in the Olympic Games after breaking a world record is going to get over it all," said Varnish.

Varnish turns 22 on Monday and will not be sorry to close the book on the most testing year of her young sporting life. Before, and since, the Games, much has gone according to plan but nothing can match the down of that August evening.

In an attempt to move on, Varnish has turned to Steve Peters, British Cycling's psychologist and the man who did so much to put Pendleton on the path to Olympic success.

"He is really good at keeping your eyes open to the rest of the world," said Varnish. "In cycling you live in a bubble."

Varnish talks of using what happened in London to propel her towards Rio. She was the first of the Olympic team back on her bike, winning the team pursuit with her new partner Becky James in the first round of the World Cup in Colombia.

"I had five weeks off which I really needed – I'd not had a proper break since the March of the year before so that was really important," she said. "I was excited to get back into training not just because what happened in the Olympics but because of the opportunity to broaden out."

She will ride four events in Glasgow, as well as partnering James today in the sprint she will also go in the 500m time trial. Tomorrow it's the individual sprint and on Sunday the keirin.

James is one of a number of young riders who have been included for the second leg of the World Cup.

The 20-year-old from Abergavenny is already a double Commonwealth Games medallist and has been inked in as Pendleton's replacement, a position she had known was coming her way.

"When Vicky retired I always knew it would be my chance to race in the World Cups," she said. "Watching everyone race [in London] was inspirational and made me train even harder in the hope of getting to Rio."

The youngest member of the British lineup this weekend – there are five London gold medallists riding – is another Welsh rider, Elinor Barker. The 18-year-old has had to take a hurried break from school, and studying for biology and PE A-levels, to replace Joanna Rowsell, who was forced to withdraw from the team sprint with a virus.

Barker will be man three behind Laura Trott and Dani King. With the women's team sprint expected to increase from three to four kilometres for the Rio Games it means four rather than three riders will compete per team and gives Barker a chance to make an early claim.

"It's a massive opportunity for me to get experience at this level," said Barker. "I'm riding with Olympic champions and world record holders – I wouldn't be human if I wasn't nervous. I've just got to try and enjoy it and make the most of the opportunity."

Brits to watch in Glasgow

Jon Dibben

The 18-year-old will make his World Cup debut, competing in the omnium tomorrow. Moved to Manchester in September to join the Olympic academy programme days after winning four titles at the national championships.

Elinor Barker

Her versatility only adds to her potential – in September she won a world junior title on the road to add to European junior titles on the track. Only joined the sprint squad last week.

Becky James

Missed the Olympics but with Victoria Pendleton gone this is her chance. A former world and European junior champion, she turns 21 at the end of the month. Won silver and bronze for Wales at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Premier League Live
footballLIVE Follow all the Premier League action as it happens
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
gadgets + echSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
James Argent from Towie is missing, police say
peopleTV star had been reported missing
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Clinical Negligence Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...

Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF, BGP, Multicast, WAN)

£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...

Commercial Property Solicitor - Bristol

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: A VERY HIGH QUALITY FIRM A high qual...

DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, Linux, Shell, Bash)

£50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, L...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone