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Romero conspicuous by her absence

Rebecca Romero
Romero won individual pursuit gold in Beijing last year

Olympic champion Rebecca Romero failed to make her expected individual pursuit comeback at the British National Track Championships after taking a year out.

Romero's absence on Wednesday from the event she won in Beijing last year has added to the speculation that the race is to be dropped from the 2012 Games.

Wendy Houvenaghel, Joanna Rowsell and Lizzie Armitstead were also missing despite being named among the entrants.

The International Olympic Committee will announce any changes in December.

Currently, there are seven events for men and three for women, but cycling's world governing body, the UCI, is believed to have suggested an equal number of events for both sexes for the London Olympics.

if she turns her mind to something and commits 100% to it, there's a fair degree of likelihood that she'll achieve what she sets out to

GB cycling coach Dan Hunt

They are understood to be the sprint, keirin, team sprint, team pursuit and the omnium which is a five-race event.

Romero, 29, was set to return to the track at the Manchester Velodrome after taking one year out to concentrate on road racing with a view to taking on the time trial at the 2012 Games.

And British Cycling's endurance coach Dan Hunt insists Romero could win another track title, despite not being able to defend her individual pursuit crown.

"We don't ever want to write Becs out of the track programme," said Hunt.

"But the one thing she is motivated by is individual - she likes the events where she is totally in control of how she does, not necessarily relying on other people.

"However, she can turn her hand to team pursuit no problem at all."

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However, should Romero decide to focus on the road in London, Hunt is equally as confident about her chances of winning gold.

"It's almost like she's going to have to reinvent herself as an athlete to be competitive in the time-trial at the highest level," he added.

"But my take with Rebecca is, if she turns her mind to something and commits 100% to it, there's a fair degree of likelihood that she'll achieve what she sets out to."

London's time-trial course should suit Romero's powerful style as it will be reasonably flat.

She will also have decent preparation rides at the world championships in Melbourne in 2010 and Copenhagen in 2011.

"The new challenge will either motivate Becs to really commit to 2012 or it won't," said Hunt.

"There's no real reason on a physical level, on a technical level why she can't succeed in the time-trial, it's just going to involve a massive body of work, a huge project to get that right."

Romero also won a silver medal in rowing at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.



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see also
Pendleton surprised by early pace
21 Oct 09 |  Cycling
Baxter forced to delay bike debut
20 Oct 09 |  Cycling
Hoy eyes Manchester clean sweep
29 Oct 09 |  Cycling
Pendleton wins fourth sprint gold
28 Mar 09 |  Cycling


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