All eyes turn to Apeldoorn, Netherlands, this week as stars from the track continue their preparations for next year’s London Olympics at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships (March 23-27).
With less than 500 days to go before the 2012 London Games begin, Team GB would have been encouraged by their performance at the recent Manchester World Cup meeting as well as last year’s championships where they won three golds and finished second in the medal table.
Although Australia topped the medal table and came away from the 2010 championships with the most medals for the second year running, Britain’s record of three gold, four silver and a bronze medal in Olympic events just eclipsed their haul of three golds and two silvers.
As reported in Cycling Weekly earlier this month, much has been made about the condition of the Dutch track, which was only built in 2008.
Dutch sprinter Yvonne Hijgenaar recently told Wieler Revue magazine: “I think the track can be considered as slow; it is certainly not as fast as the tracks of Melbourne and Manchester.
“The problem is that the wood has not been sanded, so you feel every single piece of it, especially at the highest points of the track your wheel can slide.”
Martin de Kok, director of the championships agreed with Hijgenaar, saying: “I can confirm that the track has not been sanded for the past two years and that we probably won’t see any world records.
“However, experts assured us that sanding does not necessarily result in a faster track. If it would be effective, we would be stupid for not doing that.”
Cycling Weekly will be covering the 2011 Track World Championships in full with live text reports, photos, results, interviews, analysis and more
Track World Champs 2011: Great Britain team
With the predicted absence of Bradley Wiggins and Geraint Thomas, most of Britain’s top names will compete at the championships.
Sarah Storey missed on out the final selection place for the team pursuit, despite her success at the Paracycling World Championships earlier this month and February’s Manchester World Cup, while Rebecca Romero was also overlooked.
Dave Brailsford cited a slight back injury to Reade, as well as Varnish becoming the first British woman to break the 19-second barrier for the first lap at the World Cup in Manchester, as the reason why she will team up with Pendleton.
Hoy triumphed in the keirin last year, and having missed the championships in 2009, has won gold in the event three times in his last three attempts.
Pendleton won her fifth sprint world title last year, but a below-expectation showing in Manchester increases the pressure on her to perform well. Australian rival Anna Meares, who beat Pendleton in the last two World Cup meets, recently insisted that the Brit is still the person to beat – but even so, Pendleton needs to perform.
Lizzie Armitstead had been selected to ride the omnium, however she was forced to pull out on Friday due to injury. Instead, Trott will ride that event.
Clancy is one of just five male endurance riders selected, indicating that Team GB are focusing on the key Olympic disciplines – team pursuit and omnium – after the individual pursuit, madison and points race were scrapped from the 2012 schedule.
British Cycling’s Performance Director Brailsford commented: “These World Championships are a further stepping stone towards the Olympic Games in London.
“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.”
Sir Chris Hoy
Britain’s Ed Clancy (middle) defends his Omnium title
Track Worlds 2011: Event schedule (finals)
Wednesday, March 23
500m time trial women
Team pursuit men
Points race women
Team sprint men
Thursday, March 24
Team pursuit women
Team sprint women
Individual pursuit men
Friday, March 25
Points race men
Individual pursuit women
Saturday, March 26
Sunday, March 27
1km time trial men
Track Cycling: Current World Champions
2010 Men’s world champion: Grégory Baugé (France)
2010 Women’s world champion: Victoria Pendleton (Great Britain)
2010 Men’s world champions: Germany (Robert Förstemann, Maximilian Levy, Stefan Nimke)
2010 Women’s world champions: Australian (Kaarle McCulloch , Anna Meares)
2010 Men’s world champion: Chris Hoy (Great Britain)
2010 Women’s world champion: Simona Krupeckaitė (Lithuania)
2010 Men’s world champion: Teun Mulder (Netherlands)
2010 Women’s world champion: Anna Meares (Australia)
2010 Men’s world champion: Taylor Phinney (USA)
2010 Women’s world champion: Sarah Hammer (USA)
2010 Men’s world champions: Australia (Jack Bobridge, Rohan Dennis, Michael Hepburn, Cameron Meyer)
2010 Women’s world champions: Australia (Ashlee Ankudinoff, Sarah Kent, Josephine Tomic)
2010 Men’s world champion: Alex Rasmussen (Denmark)
2010 Women’s world champion: Pascale Jeuland (France)
2010 Men’s world champions: Leigh Howard, Cameron Meyer (Australia)
2010 Women’s world champion: N/A
2010 Men’s world champion: Ed Clancy (Great Britain)
2010 Women’s world champion: Tara Whitten (Canada)
2010 Men’s world champion: Cameron Meyer (Australia)
2010 Women’s world champion: Tara Whitten (Canada)
Track World Champs 2011: TV schedule
March 23, 17:45-21:30 Live Track Cycling Championships (BE2)
March 23, 23:00-00:30 Track Cycling Championships (highlights)
March 24, 18:00-21:30 Live Track Cycling Championships
March 24, 23:00-00:30 Track Cycling Championships (highlights)
March 25, 17:15-21:30 Live Track Cycling Championships
March 25, 23:00-00:30 Track Cycling Championships (highlights)
March 26, 12:45-17:30 Live Track Cycling Championships
March 26, 23:00-00:30 Track Cycling Championships (highlights)
March 27, 12:15-17:30 Live Track Cycling Championships
March 23, 18:30-21:00 Live Track Cycling Championships (Red Button and online)
March 24, 18:00-21:00 Live Track Cycling Championships (Red Button and online)
March 25, 17:30-21:00 Live Track Cycling Championships (Red Button and online)
March 26, 14:15-15:45 Live Track Cycling Championships
March 27, 15:00-17:30 Live Track Cycling Championships
2011 Manchester UCI Track World Cup meeting: Coverage index
2010 UCI World Track Championships: Coverage index