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  Lauren Dolan second in first world level women's Madison at Junior Track World Championships  
  August 1st 2016  
  Women's Madison. From left - Lauren Dolan, Jenny Holl, Ruby Roseman-Gannon, Jade Haines, Nicola Macdonald & Kristina Clonan. Photo: © UCI  
  16 year old Lauren Dolan has only been cycling competitively for two and a half year but she can already call herself a British Champion, European medallist and has recently added the honour of finishing second in the first ever women's Madison at world level at the 2016 UCI Junior Track Cycling World Championships last month.

Dolan who is the reigning British youth Madison Champion headed in to her first World Championships with a bronze medal from the European Championships in the team pursuit a week earlier. At Worlds the Great Britain team looked set to move in to the bronze medal ride in the team pursuit but disaster struck when Dolan crashed after a rider from the Japanese team swung up in round one.

Uninjured Dolan along with Eleanor Dickinson, Jessica Roberts and Rebecca Raybould restarted and would go on to finish fifth. Dolan had a chance to put things right two days later in the Madison. Great Britain along with Australia both entered two teams that would dominate the event. Dolan partnered Jenny Holl with the duo consistently picking up points in every sprint to finish second.

This week sees Dolan back on the track for the British National Championships, before turning her attention to the road and selection for the European Championships in September.

How did you first start cycling and how old were you?

I started cycling competitively in March 2014, so I was 14 at the time. My dad used to ride for Great Britain when he was a junior, so my interest in the sport stemmed from the stories he told me from when he rode at an international level. Since a young age, I have always been involved in sport, so I jumped at the opportunity of getting on a bike.

Bronze medallist in the team pursuit at the European Championships did you take confidence from that in to Junior Worlds?

Most definitely, especially as we rode a 4:39 in the bronze medal ride off against Poland, which is not only a faster time than we did in qualifying, but it was also a PB for us. We knew going into worlds that it would be extremely tough, witnessing the Italians break the world record in both their qualifying and finals rides, but for us, having a perfect process prioritised a result.

Team was on a good ride in the second round of the team pursuit at Junior Worlds, when overtaking Japan a rider swung up and you crashed forcing a restart. Besides the bad luck with the crash were you happy with the teams performance?

I was really pleased with how the team performed, however, we would have liked to have gone a bit quicker in qualifying, but this only made us more determined in the second round in the ride off against Japan to post a good time enabling us to progress further in the competition. Crashing was obviously tough, not just for me but the team too, having been on schedule for a 4:36, putting us into the bronze medal ride off against France. I'm most proud of how resilient the girls were, showing our true mettle and delivering a good time in our re-ride. Then, in the ride off against Poland (this being our third pursuit of the day) we exposed our potential for next year, making the catch very early on into the ride.

Reigning British U16 Madison national champion heading in to the Madison what were your expectations?

I came into the event seeking further knowledge and experience of a world championship event. Being only first year juniors, I knew that Jenny and I would be challenged, so our ambition was to ride a tactically and technically sound race and to make sure our processes were perfect. To come home with a result was a bonus.

Can you talk through how the Madison went for you?

On the whole, I felt it went quite well. Having been the first time that Jenny and I had ridden a Madison together, we knew that technically it wouldn't be perfect, and it was far from it. We both made a few mistakes and missed a few changes but it just means that we can come back and ride a more technically and tactically adept race next year. We scored consistently throughout the race and stayed at the front for the whole race, which is a real positive, showing we are able to compete with the words best. There were few sketchy moments in the race, but we managed to stay upright and commit fully to the race.

What does it mean to have finished second in the first ever women's Madison at this level?

I am immensely pleased to have finished second, especially as it is the first ever women's Madison at a junior world championships. It is great to be a small part of the progression in women's racing and hopefully the opportunity will arise again next year to attempt to go for gold and maybe even a rainbow jersey!

The level of the teams from Great Britain and Australia was above the rest of the field, both nations have a Madison National Championships do you this think was a big benefit?

I feel that it is a huge benefit, and it was palpable when watching the race. Having a National Championship means that the riders get an opportunity to train and race for the Madison, which is key for success as the race it very physically demanding as well as technically and tactically challenging.

Was only an exhibition event this year but how important a step do you think it is that a women's Madison was included at Junior Worlds this year?

I believe that it is a huge step forward for women's cycling, in terms of equality; giving the women the same opportunities to race as the men as well as it being a reflection of the progression there has been in women's cycling over recent years. The inclusion of the Madison this year, and in years to come, will only further the augmentation of women cycling; so next year, with a bit of luck, we will be racing for a jersey!

How do you combine, school, training and racing?

This year, doing my GCSE's was the first big test for me, having to balance my academia alongside training and racing. Honestly speaking, at times I have found it extremely tough and emotionally draining, as I wanted to do my best in both. Prioritising and time management is key, so unfortunately this season I haven't been as involved on the racing scene as much as I would have liked to and trying to fit training in and around schoolwork was sometimes a little tricky. However, the unrelenting support I was given from my family, Millfield and British Cycling took a lot of the stresses away which I am so grateful for.

Busy month for you with European and World Championships what is next for you?

I still have a busy couple of months ahead of me before winding down for the end of the season, nonetheless still very much looking forward to it. I have just competed at the Elite National Circuit Championships three days after getting home from Switzerland, holding on for 12th place. The race was hard and fast from the off, so I'm happy to have come home with a result as a first year junior. Next, I have the National Track Championships in Derby from the 1st - 5th August, which will give me a good opportunity to put everything I had learnt from watching and racing at Worlds and Euros into practice. At the end of August, the Junior Academy girls are off to Belgium for a week of training and racing ahead of the Road European Championships in Monaco, which starts on the 12th of September if selected!
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