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Elinor Barker: One big learning experience

On the 18th September 2012, ‘Elinor Barker’ became a house-hold name when the young Wiggle Honda rider powered home to be crowned World Junior Time Trial Champion at the World Road Cycling Championships in Valkenburg. The 18-year-old Welsh rider’s victorious ride on the hilly roads of the Netherlands served merely as an indication of her future potential, as she would go on to add another World Title to her palmers merely 5 months on. Two weeks ago, the young powerhouse claimed her first senior Gold medal in the team pursuit at the Track World Championships in Minsk, Belarus alongside her Great British and Wiggle Honda teammates, Laura Trott and Dani King.


Barker was humble in victory, crediting the mentoring she received from her teammates as a key element in their success.

“The experience was amazing, I feel so lucky to have been given the chance to ride in the World Championships with such an amazing team. I feel pretty overwhelmed at the moment, nothing has quite sunk in yet! Riding with Dani and Laura was just surreal, and the feedback I got from them meant so much more than the time or place on the podium. Having a pair of Olympic champions saying that they couldn’t have done it without me is an unbelievable feeling!”

Along side her World Championship titles, Barker has numerous European and National track titles in addition to a collection of medals from the World Junior Track Cycling Championships. Despite her increasing list of palmers, Great Britains stars of the future says her allolades haven’t changed who she is.

“Some things have changed, I have definitely been doing a lot more interviews than before! But my friends and family don’t treat me any differently, and I wouldn’t want them to. Obviously they were very happy for me and it was great to celebrate with them for a few days but it hasn’t changed anything.”

Barker has been openly honest about her training schedule in the lead up to the Junior World Time Trial Championships, crediting a regimented, rigorous routine to her success.

“I didn’t eat any junk, watched my diet and didn’t stay up late for months, I made sure my training was as specific as it could be to the course and working on my weaknesses. I didn’t know how the competition would be so I was really worried. There were so many strong riders there..”

Living such a strict lifestyle is challenging for any young person coming of age however claiming the World Championship would prove more satisfying for Barker than attending any party or festival.

“After coming second so many times all I wanted to do was win. It got a bit annoying when it meant I didn’t get to see my friends for a while because they were going out partying or to festivals, but compared to the experiences I’ve had this year that’s nothing! I’m lucky enough that I have great friends who understand how much cycling means to me and are really supportive.”

The talented youngster, who is studying a PE in Biology and English literature, took up cycling as a 10-year-old with the Maindy Flyers club in Cardiff after originally visiting the pool to swim with her sister.

“I tried most things when I was young and enjoyed pretty much everything from football to piano, but swimming lessons every week was the one thing I hated. We found out that cycling was on at the same time at the leisure centre and as soon as we started we got hooked! It pretty much took over everything else from then on,” Barker explains.

With the track season over, neo-pro Barker now shifts her focus to the road. The determined youngster has publicly announced the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games as a major target and recognises the vital role her time with Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling will play in achieving this goal.


From March onwards I will be racing on the road. I probably won’t be in the really big prestigious races yet but I will be trying to get abroad as much as I can around school really. It will be my first year as a senior rider so I’m not really sure what to expect! But I’m sure that the team will help me to learn a huge amount and help me to reach my full potential as well as being a great team!

“After [school] I would like to be doing as much racing as possible and expect to take on the role of a domestique or potentially become a part of a lead out for some of the more experienced riders in the team.”

Like many other riders on the team Barker hopes to develop into a good road and track rider over the years within Wiggle Honda.

The move to Wiggle Honda is an important step in moving from a junior to a senior and while I feel like I have made a lot of progress as a junior,  I still have so much room for improvement as a bike rider. The team has a lot of strong, successful and experienced riders who know what it takes to make it to the top and I feel that they can help me to develop. For my first senior season its all about gaining experience and learn from the best.”

 Joining Barker on the Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team will be her World Teams Pursuit Champion teammates Laura Trott, Dani King in addition to training partner Amy Roberts. Like Barker, her new teammates are all established track riders, eager to show their potential on the road in 2013

“I think it’s great that we can all make this transition into senior road racing together! Amy and I will be first years, and while Laura, Dani and Jo have been successful on the road in the past, their main focus has always been the track. I’m excited to see how they will transfer their amazing successes on the track onto the road.”


For more information on Elinor and the rest of the team at Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling, check out the official website at

Follow Elinor on Twitter: @elinorbarker

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