Track World Championships: Laura Kenny absence creates chance for other riders
|Track Cycling World Championships|
|Dates: 12-16 April Venue: Hong Kong Velodrome|
|Coverage: Live on BBC Two, connected TVs and red button from 12:00 BST across all five days of competition, and repeats on BBC Red Button.|
Katie Archibald and Elinor Barker can "make their mark" at this week's Track World Championships in Hong Kong, says British Cycling's head coach Iain Dyer.
Britain will be without their most successful female Olympian, Laura Kenny, who is pregnant with her first child.
Kenny's husband Jason is also taking a break following Rio 2016.
"It's a young squad and anyone has the chance to unseat someone more senior," said Dyer.
"The guys here are looking to make their own mark."
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Archibald and Barker won gold alongside Laura Kenny and Joanna Rowsell-Shand, who has retired, in the team pursuit at Rio 2016.
Archibald is part of a new-look team pursuit squad and will also contest the scratch race, omnium and individual pursuit in Hong Kong, where the championships start on Wednesday.
Barker will also challenge for the points race and the madison.
"Laura has ruled the roost in the omnium in the past but Katie and Elinor are pretty good bunch race riders in their own right, as we've all seen," added Dyer.
"The most important thing with these World Championships is that those who have been committed to team events now have the freedom to commit a little bit stronger to individual stuff."
'I feel privileged to have omnium spot'
At the age of 23, Archibald is a senior member of the 20-strong Great Britain squad, which features 10 World Championship debutants.
They will be hoping to match their table-topping five gold medals from last year's event in London.
"The biggest change for us going into this World Championships is Laura not being here, along with Joanna and Ciara Horne," Archibald told the BBC's Rob Hatch.
"Myself and Elinor have somehow been thrust into the position of being the elders, aged 22 and 23. It's daunting.
"It's a fairly obvious truth that Laura Kenny is Olympic and world champion. You've got to expect that if she had continued training she would have had the form to make that selection.
"But she is not here and there is still a huge amount of competition. I feel quite privileged to have this chance and have this omnium spot. I want to be competitive."
'I've made the most of independence'
Barker has relished being able to focus on her individual performances, winning gold in the Track World Cup points race in the Netherlands in November.
"I've done more racing in the last six months than I did in the year and a half before the Olympics," she told BBC Sport.
"I've made the most of being able to ride independently. I've changed my goals slightly and put my focus on the bunch races rather than the team pursuit."
Women's madison brings parity in events
The madison - one of the oldest and most exciting events in track racing - is part of the women's programme at the World Championships for the first time in Hong Kong, meaning women and men now compete in exactly the same events.
The race, similar to the points race but with riders in teams of two, was taken off the men's Olympic programme for the 2012 London Games.
But there are hopes it could be reintroduced for both men and women at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Archibald said: "It's going to be pretty exciting. When you make something an Olympic event, every nation pays attention and commits to it.
"For madison racing, there is a fantastic conversation going on. We all want it to be an Olympic event and this will be the first major trial."
Dyer added: "We know the UCI have been working hard behind the scenes.
"In the last year we've seen the women's madison come to the fore and that looks like a genuine attempt to achieve equality between men and women."
Great Britain squad
Olympic champions Steven Burke and Callum Skinner have also been named in the squad of 20 riders.
Women's endurance: Katie Archibald, Elinor Barker, Ellie Dickinson, Neah Evans, Emily Kay, Manon Lloyd, Emily Nelson.
Men's endurance: Matt Bostock, Steven Burke, Kian Emadi, Chris Latham, Mark Stewart, Andy Tennant, Oliver Wood.
Sprint: Jack Carlin, Katy Marchant, Lewis Oliva, Ryan Owens, Callum Skinner, Joe Truman.