Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting WN NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Varnish will shine in the future, insists president
JESS Varnish will put the heartache of her London 2012 disqualification behind her and enjoy a successful career, according to the Bromsgrove Olympique club president.
Ian Billington, who has been involved with cycling for three decades, saw the 21-year-old hone her skills first-hand while riding with the club as a teenager.
Varnish, whose dad Jim is a professional cyclist, took part in grasstrack events and circuit races for Bromsgrove as well as competing on Halesowen’s track.
Last Thursday was supposed to be the moment she reaped the rewards for all that effort by partnering Victoria Pendleton to Olympic gold in the team sprint at a packed Velodrome.
Instead, it was heartbreak for the British pair, who triumphed on the same track at the UCI World Cup in February, as they were disqualified when officials deemed Pendleton had overtaken before Varnish had finished her lap.
Billington said: “Like most people who watched it, we were all gutted – years and years of work and ending up like that, one error over a split second. But, having seen it was the same commissaire from the world championships, he does not take a rule break.
“If he has seen it he will give it and there were lots of people disqualified at the world championships.”
Varnish admitted the decision was correct but has vowed never to watch the footage of the moment her Olympic dream was shattered.
Not entered in any other events, there was no chance for her to make amends although she has since returned to the venue to cheer Team GB on to their historic medal haul, including Pendleton to gold in the keirin.
Billington, however, is confident Varnish will bounce back over the next four years, culminating in the Rio Games in 2016.
“It’s a big blip but it won’t be the end, she will be paired with another good sprinter (Pendleton retires after the Games),” he said.
“She’s got the friends and the support network of British Cycling, which is one of the best in the world.
“From that point of view, being part of that, I am quite sure they will support her to Rio and a lot of events before then.”
Billington added: “I used to go out training with her and her dad. She was always very quick and had a lot of acceleration. I knew Mark Cavendish when he was 12 and he was prodigiously fast.”