Katy Marchant flying the flag for Britain and Yorkshire as she sets sights on World and Olympic glory

LEEDS cyclist Katy Marchant’s priority for 2020 is obvious.

Champion: Katy Marchant winning gold in the womens keirin in Glasgow.

The former Brigshaw High School pupil has always dreamed of becoming an Olympic champion.

Four years after taking bronze in Rio, the 26-year-old will aim to fulfil that dream on not one but two fronts, competing in the individual sprint and keirin at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

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Five months before that assignment, a World Championships gold is the target for a cyclist bound to enjoy a dream 2020 one way or the other by getting married at the end of the year.

Marchant and fiance Rob Nicholls will tie the knot at the end of next year in Santorini yet, on the track, Tokyo and Berlin present the year’s two big stages.

Four years after exceeding all expectations by taking an individual sprint bronze in Rio De Janiero, Japan is the priority.

Marchant highlighted her claims for 2020 joy with a brilliant victory in the keirin event at the UCI Track World Cup leg in Glasgow in November as well as a personal best time in finishing fifth in the individual sprint and the next seven months are all geared around peaking to perfection.

Yet a World Championships medal eludes the Yorkshire star and, as part of an action-packed programme, she admits there is no hiding the desire to also be top of the podium in Berlin.

“I’ll do the sprint and kieren at the World Champs as well,” said Marchant, breaking off from Olympics talk as she spoke to The Yorkshire Post.

“Last year at the World Championships it was completely different for me.

“I’d had the busiest race season I could ever have had. I went to all six World Cups so, by the World Championships, I was absolutely on my knees so that obviously wasn’t ideal preparation.

“This year is completely different. We have front-ended the season, we have got the results that we needed for Olympic qualification and this is going to allow us to have a solid three-month training block going into the Worlds.

“Obviously, our focus is on the Olympics but I wouldn’t say no to a World Champs jersey!”

The 2020 Track Cycling World Championships run for five days and begin in Berlin on Wednesday, February 26.

As well as the quest to be crowned the best on the planet, the event also has connotations regarding qualification for the Olympics though Marchant’s recent World Cup results have already left her and her nation in excellent stead.

Marchant explained: “We will know by the Worlds next year about qualification but basically they take your best three results from a World Cup, which gives you points going into a World Championship.

“It’s actually done on nation ranking solely so we are really fortunate now that we are in a position where we have got Sophie Capewell riding in the World Cups as well so she he has been collecting points along the way and all of our points will add together.

“I think we are in a really comfortable position.

“It’s just now making sure that we get the right training ahead of the World Championships because there’s massive points up for grabs there and that’s where you can capitalise on that really.”

Pre-World Championship preparations are taking place at a training camp in Australia where the cyclist took part in the Brisbane leg of the World Cup at the weekend as something of a bonus.

The Leeds cyclist made the quarter-finals of the women’s sprint, where she lost to Colombia’s Martha Pineda Bayona with Marchant knocked out in the keirin repechage.

Following the Worlds, all roads will then lead to Tokyo where Marchant says she will be proud to fly the flag for Great Britain, Yorkshire and Leeds.

Following the retirement of Leeds’ double Olympic boxing champion Nicola Adams, if Marchant has her way this time she will prove the city’s golden girl.

“A girl can dream,” said Marchant. “Obviously, I am training as hard as I can and I am working as hard as I can to make sure I can do that.

“Even after the win I had in Glasgow, I had so many people messaging me from home just congratulating me and stuff and showing so much support.

“I think that’s been a nice taster of the support that you actually get and just a reminder that you are doing it for everyone else and not just for yourself.

“We are a very successful sporting city.

“Nicola Adams has been an inspiration for so many.

“I think it’s great for the younger people around as well to have role models like that in the city and local.

“It’s really, really nice and, hopefully, I can do something similar.”