Following an earlier announcement regarding the number of countries that qualified for the 2005 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Carson, Calif. from March 24-27, an additional three countries have been added to bring the total number of invited nations to 36. Colombia, Cuba and Venezuela have all earned invites, although their invitations are specific to the individuals who won a continental championship at the Pan-American Championships in June of 2004.
Sandra Gomez (Col) qualified herself a spot at worlds as the Pan-American women's points race champion as did her countrywoman Diana Garcia through her win in the keirin. Cubans Yumari Gonzalez and Yoanka Gonzalez earned start positions as a result of their Pan American titles in the women's scratch race and women's individual pursuit respectively. Richard Ochoa (Ven) won the men's points race, thus securing himself a start slot.
These nations will be facing tough competition in Los Angeles not only by European and Australian riders, but also by Asian countries, who have been advancing towards the top level of international track cycling. Most notable are the accomplishments of riders from Malaysia, Hong Kong, Japan, and 2008 summer Olympics host country China. At the Olympic Games, Asian countries have recently been very competitive winning three of their five track cycling medals in the 2000 and 2004 games, making more than one breakthrough by Asian athletes likely in Los Angeles.
Top performing riders include Josiah Ng, Rizal Mohd Tisin, and Alias Norazian of Malaysia, Toshiaki Fushimi, Masaki Inoue, Tomohiro Nagatsuka, Kazuya Narita, Kei Uchida, Kazunari Watanabe, and Yusho Oikawa of Japan, Fang Tian, Shuang Guo, Yonghua Jiang and Yunmei Wu of China, and King Wai Cheung, Kam-Po Wong Kin Chung Wong, and Wan Yiu Wong of Hong Kong. In the 2004-05 UCI Track World Cup season, Shuang Guo of China was a common site on female sprint event podiums while the Japanese team sprint squad continued their string of top-level international performances. Josiah Ng, a Malaysian with dual citizenship in the United States and Malaysia, has also returned to prominence after an injury dashed his medal hopes at the 2004 Olympic Games.
For more information on the 2005 UCI Track Cycling World Championships, please visit www.usacycling.org