Becky James misses British Championships to star in Japan
ABERGAVENNY cycling star Becky James is not defending her four titles at the British Track Cycling Championships this week as she continues her Japanese adventure.
The 21-year-old, who won also won double gold at the world championships in Minsk in February, will lose the British 500m time trial, sprint, team sprint and keirin titles she won this time last year.
That’s because, as she builds up to the European track championships in Holland and her home World Cup in Manchester, James has instead opted to compete in the far east on the keirin women's circuit.
So far she has a perfect record with three wins out of three in both three-day meetings at the Matsudo and Tachikawa velodromes in Tokyo, and this weekend she concludes her three-week stay by competing in Yokkaichi.
The keirin women's circuit was relaunched last year after a 39-year break as part of a move to broaden the sport's appeal outside its traditional fanbase of older males. James is one of only two women from outside Japan to have been invited.
Running from today until Sunday, the British Championships at the Manchester Velodrome does feature London Olympic champions Jason Kenny, Laura Trott, Philip Hindes, Dani King, Joanna Rowsell, Ed Clancy and Steven Burke, and Paralympic medallists Jody Cundy, Neil Fachie, Helen Scott, Aileen McGlynn and Jon-Allan Butterworth.
In James’ absence double junior world champion Dannielle Khan will compete with fellow Great Britain female sprinters Jess Varnish, Victoria Williamson and Katy Marchant.
James' English rival Varnish, who has been on the road to recovery following a back injury, will also link up with Khan for the team sprint.
“I want to do well in the individual sprint, that is really something that I want to do personally,” said Varnish.
“I am really looking forward to that. In the competitions later in the season, that’s an area where I am really looking forward to seeing how I get on.”
Fellow sprinter Williamson took home three silver medals last year and will aspire to step up to gold this time around after performing impressively in Minsk in February, where she won bronze in the team sprint with James.
Cardiff world champion Elinor Barker will join Olympic team pursuit gold medalists Laura Trott, Dani King and Joanna Rowsell in the women’s team pursuit, which will be ridden as a four person, four-kilometre event for the first time at the British championships.
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