By Paul Verkuylen
The second round of the Track World Cup moves to the brand new Laoshan Velodrome and venue of the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing, China, this week. After a successful opening round in Sydney which saw a record, 395 cyclists take part in the event, 376 cyclists have entered the Olympic test event.
Forty-four nations and a total of 69 teams have entered the weekend of racing, all with the hope of qualifying for next year's Olympics. An important aspect of the weekend will be getting to know the track. Not much is known about the track as even photos have been scarce. For all the national teams and rider, bar the Chinese presumably, this will be the first time that anyone will ride the new boards that have been specially laid for the Olympics.
The Sydney World Cup brought about a number of surprises and Beijing should be no different as many of the riders are coming off a heavy road season, using the races to build form and fitness.
For the track racing super powers like Great Britain, the Netherlands and Australia, the racing may be more about building knowledge for the bigger goal of Olympic gold next year, although in order to win gold, the teams and riders still need to qualify.
To read the full preview of the Beijing Track World Cup, click here.