The four day UCI Track Cycling World Cup starts this Thursday in Astana and GB is there to race for more qualifying points
The UCI Track Cycling World Cup gets underway this week with the first of four rounds as nations go about trying to qualify places for their riders in the London Olympic Games next August. Starting in Astana at a lavish new velodrome there, the World Cup will for the first time be held over four days with the Team Pursuit qualifying event taking place on the Thursday with the finals to follow on the Friday.
Link: Event Website
The World Cup season will finish in London, which like Astana, will be making its debut in the World Cup programme. The World Cup will also see rounds in Columbia and China. Dates for the World Cup are:
3-06 November — Astana (KAZ)
1-3 December — Cali (COL)
13-15 January 2012 — Beijing (CHN)
17-19 February — London (GBR)
In addition, each round will see a significant increase in the total number of non-Olympic event with the programme having been slightly modified for this season. As well as the 10 Olympic specialties, five events that feature in the UCI World Championships (with the exception of London where there will be only four) will be raced in each round. In Astana, these will be the 500 metres TT (Women) and the Women’s Points and for the Men, the Individual Pursuit, Scratch and Madison.
Sir Chris Hoy in action at the Track Champs a few weeks ago. He’ll be racing in the same colours in Astana.
Racing in Astana starts with the Men’s and Women’s Team Pursuit on Thursday, November 3rd and then oddly, the next day (Friday), has the Men’s Omnium. This means that should GB or any other country want a rider in their TP squad to ride the Omnium, they’d have to double up which is a little crazy to say the least.
For Great Britain though, Ed Clancy is there only for the Men’s Omnium and GB is not fielding teams in the Team Pursuit for either Men or Women. A member of the Women’s Team Pursuit squad, World Champion Dani King rides the Women’s Omnium which starts on Saturday. That’s the extent of the Endurance squad for the event and the next big hit out for the squad as a whole is expected to be the London World Cup in February. In the meantime, riders in the Under 23 Academy (Men’s Endurance) are expected to compete in Beijing in January.
For the Sprinters, there is a strong squad there with Sir Chris Hoy racing for his trade team in the individual events (Sprint & Keirin) and obviously in good humour if the quotes on his facebook page are anything to go by.
“Just landed in Kazakhstan, looks cold outside, snow everywhere. Definitely not mankini weather.” Sir Chris had to withdraw from the European Championships recently with flu but a week ago admitted “back training today, no sore throat, head, sinuses or chest! Fingers crossed, seems like I’m going to survive after all!”
The four time Olympic champion will be joined in Astana by four of the Sprint squad, Matt Crampton, Ross Edgar, Jason Kenny and Jason Queally. They will be riding the three Olympic Sprint events with Jason Queally only expected to be involved in the Team Sprint.
After Crampton’s win in the Men’s Keirin, the team will be looking to do well in the Team Sprint and Sprint in what is likely to be their final hit out before a phase of training before the London World Cup in February.
In the Women’s Sprint squad, Victoria Pendleton misses the event to concentrate on training while her Gold medal winning partner from the Europeans, Jess Varnish, is joined by Becky James from Wales.
The former World Junior Champion, missed the European Track Championships due to illness but James admits to having had a solid week of training before flying to Astana and is feeling ‘on it’ again. Both Varnish and James will contest all the sprint events in GB colours.
SCHEDULE (GB riders in brackets)
Thursday, November 3rd
Team Pursuit Qualifying Men & Women
Friday, November 4th
Men’s Omnium Rounds 1 to 3 (Ed Clancy)
Women Team Sprint: (Becky James/Jess Varnish)
Men Scratch 15 km
Women Team Pursuit
Men Team Sprint: (Matt Crampton, Ross Edgar, Jason Kenny, Jason Queally)
Women 500 m TT
Women Points Race 20 km
Men Team Pursuit
Saturday, November 5th
Men’s Omnium Rounds 4 to 6 (Ed Clancy)
Women’s Omnium Rounds 1 to 3 (Dani King)
Men Individual Pursuit
Women Sprint: (Jess Varnish/Becky James)
Men Keirin: (Matt Crampton, Ross Edgar, Jason Kenny – one from these three plus Sir Chris Hoy)
Sunday, November 6th
Men Sprint: (Matt Crampton, Ross Edgar, Jason Kenny – one from these three plus Sir Chris Hoy)
Women Keirin: (Jess Varnish/Becky James)
Women Omnium IV Rounds 3 to 6: (Dani King)
Link: European Track Championships | British Track Championships