Bate’s breakthrough leads to London

Lauren Bate’s first year on the circuit has already been promising but the chance to thrill a home crowd at the TISSOT UCI Track Cycling World Cup makes it pitch perfect.

The teenager’s breakout 2018 will reach its crescendo at the Lee Valley VeloPark, London this weekend as she takes to the boards in the women’s sprint.

Bate, double junior world medallist, has shifted her success into senior competition and made her bow at the 2018 UCI Track Cycling World Championship, finishing fifth.

The 19-year-old has been a fixture in the Great Britain team throughout the 2018-19 Track World Cup series, featuring in Paris, Milton, Berlin and now on home soil.

Belying her years, the major event novice already feels she has the tools to conquer the nerves and niggles that go with treading new ground.

“It’s been a whirlwind. It’s gone so, so fast,” said Bate, who bagged bronze at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

“It’s been mad going straight from junior into a full season. I think if it starts off hard it can only really get easier.

“At first, it can be really intimidating. It can be scary and nerve-wracking, at first it takes you a bit of time to get used to it.

“If you just wait around thinking ‘oh my god, this is terrifying’ you’re never going to get better. You’ve just got to throw yourself into it.

“I’m there because I’m good enough to be there and because one day I’ll be as fast as the rest of them. If you waste your time getting nervous, it’s just going to stop you.”

Sprint sister Katy Marchant, bronze medallist at the 2016 Olympic Games, has been a vital influence on Bate as she makes her way in the sport.

The pair have competed together at all three series events, with a fifth-place finish in Berlin a fortnight ago a ringing endorsement of their progress.

They have played their part in the runaway success of the Great Britain team, that already has 20 UCI Track World Cup medals to its name and will target plenty more on their own patch.

Bate and Marchant lie fifth in the Olympic classification and the youngster is suffused with confidence they will peak at the right time – starting in London.

“The sooner you can start hitting your peak the better,” she said.

“We’ve got over a year until the Olympics so even if we’re not at our best now, we’ve still got time to be. We are in quite a good place already.

“We’ve had the European Championship in Glasgow but I think this is going to be bigger, the crowds are going to be insane.”