By Mike Rowbottom

Victoria_PendletonMarch 14 - Britain will apply pressure on its big rivals Australia and France at this month's World Track Championships as Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton (pictured) and Ed Clancy defend their Keirin, sprint and omnium titles respectively.

But the pressure within the British team is also evident in selection for the event, which starts in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands from March 23, as Sarah Storey - who helped set a world team pursuit record recently in Manchester - misses out, as does Olympic individual pursuit champion Rebecca Romero, who was unable to compete in last month's World Cup event because of injury but is now fit.

Storey, a Paralympic champion in cycling and swimming, won team pursuit gold at last month's World Cup with Joanna Rowsell and Wendy Houvenaghel and won two titles at last weekend's Para-cycling Track World Championships.

Olympic silver medallist Houvenaghel and former world team pursuit gold medallist Lizzie Armitstead are joined in the endurance category by three relative youngsters - 20-year-old Dani King, and 18-year-olds Joanna Rowsell and Laura Trott - who are all keen to make their World Championship debut.

Another established name to miss out will be Shanaze Reade, the three-times BMX world champion who has won two world golds in the team sprint with Pendleton.

While Pendleton and Reade competed together at last month's World Cup in Manchester, they failed to qualify for the medal race.

Pendleton will be joined in the sprint team by Becky James and Jess Varnish, who impressed in the same event as they finished fourth.

As expected, Olympic gold medallists Bradley Wiggins and Geraint Thomas will miss the event.

Although the pair returned to the track for the World Cup and helped Britain take gold in the team pursuit - along with Clancy and Steven Burke - they have now returned to road cycling with Team Sky and are not expected to compete on the track again until winter.

British Cycling's performance director Dave Brailsford said: "These World Championships are a further stepping stone towards the Olympic Games in London, and while the team is building momentum there's still plenty left in the tank.

"There's a great mood in the camp and the riders are very much enjoying the process of competing.

"For us it's a real positive to be going into the World Championships as the hunters rather than the hunted.

"The pressure is really on the Australians and the French to deliver, and it's a nice feeling for us to be going out there as the challengers."

GB squad

Men's sprint: Matt Crampton, Ross Edgar, Sir Chris Hoy, Jason Kenny

Men's endurance: Steven Burke, Ed Clancy, Sam Harrison, Pete Kennaugh, Andy Tennant

Women's sprint: Becky James, Victoria Pendleton, Jess Varnish

Women's endurance: Lizzie Armitstead, Wendy Houvenaghel, Dani King, Joanna Rowsell, Laura Trott

Contact the writer of this story [email protected]