Three generations of riders have wedded their history to that of the Manchester velodrome, which has been part of the world track cycling landscape since 1995. Florian Rousseau, Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton left their mark on the three editions of the World Championships (1996/2000/2008) hosted there. This is where the 2013/2014 UCI Track World Cup will begin, before heading to Aguascalientes in Mexico (5 to 7 December). The host city of the third leg, scheduled for the beginning of January, will be decided next week.
The new season also marks some changes in the qualification system. Beginning this season, riders must have participated in a number of Grands Prix in order to secure an individual entry.
Coming two weeks after the European Championships in Apeldoorn (Netherlands), where Germany, Great Britain and Russia took three titles each, plus 20 medals between them (out of 39 awarded), the British weekend is also the first step on the road to the World Championships in Cali (26 February – 2 March). Competing on home ground at its own national cycling centre, British Cycling will field an impressive line-up of 17 athletes, including Jason Kenny, Philip Hindes, Steven Burke, Ed Clancy, Dani King, Joanna Rowsell and Laura Trott, Olympic champions all.
Cycling Australia, meanwhile, is hoping to use Manchester as a launch pad for Joshua Harrison and Elissa Wundersitz, World Champion and bronze medallist respectively in the team pursuit at last summer’s event in Glasgow’s Chris Hoy velodrome. Three months ago Australia dominated the Junior Worlds, winning six gold medals and giving some idea of the nation’s potential. The women’s team pursuit competition is also breaking new ground, featuring teams of four riders for the first time.
German athletes Maximilian Levy (European keirin champion) and Kristina Vogel (European sprint champion), and François Pervis of France (world kilometre champion) will also be among the star riders of the three days of competition that begin on Friday.
Events will be available to watch live on youtube.com/ucichannel.