STEVEN Burke gets his World Track Cycling Championship bid underway today in Belarus.
The London 2012 gold medalist forms part of the men’s team pursuit squad who begin their defence of the team pursuit title with qualifying this afternoon ahead of the finals tonight in Minsk.
The Colne Cyclone will be joined in the squad by Andy Tennant, Ed Clancy, Sam Harrison and Owain Doull with two of the golden quartet from last year’s Olympics – Geraint Thomas and Peter Kennaugh – concentrating on the road.
And Burke is relishing the opportunity of being one of the older heads in the squad along with Clancy – who returns to the team pursuit squad after a brief period in the sprint team.
He said: “It is good to have someone like Ed back in the squad.
“He is one of the fastest and strongest track cyclists out there so it is good to have him back.
“Me and Ed are two of the older heads in the team now which is a little bit weird but I will be trying to pass on my experience to the lads who are coming out of the academy and are joining the squad.”
And Burke is also quick to limit expectations on the GB squad despite another impressive showing in London.
“It is the first year of the four year cycle for the next Olympics. It is a good time to experiment and try different things,” added Burke.
“It is all about planning for Rio. We obviously still want to win but I will be very happy with a medal of any colour. The main aim is the Olympics and this is the first step towards Rio.
“Going on our form at the moment, we are capable of a medal. We are not expecting to defend our title, but we will give it a crack.”
With that experimental nature in mind, Burke may also compete in the individual pursuit which starts tomorrow although the final line-up has yet to be confirmed.