With three European team pursuit titles to his name, Steven Burke is certainly one of the more seasoned riders tasked with leading Great Britain’s medal charge at the UEC European Track Championships next week.
Over a year since his golden success at the Rio Olympics, the team pursuit specialist will again take to the boards in Great Britain colours in Berlin.
And while the 29-year-old might be well versed on the European circuit, the Colne Cyclone concedes the first major competition of the calendar is a stepping stone at the beginning of another Olympic cycle.
“The Euros is the first race of the season, so it will be good to lay down a good marker and see what we’ve got against the opposition,” said Burke.
“Looking at our training, we’re going reasonably well. It’s the beginning of the season, we’re going to look to build on the result we get from the Europeans and the Track World Cup in Manchester and then have a good winter, before hopefully peaking for the World Championships.”
Burke recognises the importance of mixing it up with the current crop of younger riders – an ingredient he believes will be key.
“There’ll be a couple of different teams throughout the three rides next week. It’s a good thing, especially at this point in the season – it gives the younger lads a good opportunity,” said the WIGGINS rider.
“To get the best results at an Olympics, sometimes you have to try new things and see what the best line ups are and experiment with different training methods as well.
“We’ve got to break the 50-(minute) barrier at least to have a chance of winning. But I’m fully confident we can do that.”
And Burke knows these Europeans will be some of the toughest yet.
“I think the standard of the Europeans has gone up a bit. I think with France – the European Champions last year – Italy got a bronze at the worlds this year - before it just used to be us and Russia,” he added.
“There’s more nations going round now. I think it makes it better– more competition is surely a good thing.”
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