With the British team now confirmed for the Manchester round of the UCI Track World Cup from December 9-11, two British trade teams as well as the British national squad will form the local contingent taking on each other and as well as some of the best talent from 36 other nations.
Great Britain's world class performance director Dave Brailsford knows that the Manchester World Cup will be a crucial test ahead of the Commonwealth Games and World Championships: "The Manchester World Cup provides us with a great opportunity to race both our young and experienced riders against the world's best on our home track in front of a partisan crowd," he said. "It is an important part of our preparation for the Commonwealth Games and we will be looking to get riders on the podium."
UCI regulations allow trade teams to compete at the World Cup events, meaning a Science in Sport team of Jason Queally, Jamie Staff, Matt Crampton and Victoria Pendleton will race alongside a Recycling.co.uk squad including Rob Hayles, Chris Newton, Paul Manning, Mark Cavendish and Evan Oliphant. This gives them all an opportunity to score vital qualifying points for their country and themselves for the World Championships next year and sets up some interesting head to heads in advance of the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.
The home nations' clash will be most prominent in the sprint events with Great Britain fielding an all Scottish squad of Chris Hoy, Craig MacLean and Ross Edgar. They will join the all English Science in Sport trio to take on teams from France, Holland and Japan as well as a powerful Australian team including Ryan Bayley, Ben Kersten and Shane Kelly.
Another Britain versus Australia battle is likely to take place in the women's sprint as world sprint champion Victoria Pendleton and Australian sprint star Anna Meares are both confirmed to ride. Meares won bronze in this event at the Athens Olympics and at the world championships this year, where Pendleton knocked her out in the semi-finals before taking the title against Tamilia Abassova. In advance of the Commonwealth Games, a victory will give either rider an important boost.
In the endurance racing GB will field a young squad for the men's events with U23 Academy riders Ian Stannard, Andy Tennant, Ben Swift and Ross Sander joined by academy graduates Ed Clancy and Geraint Thomas. They will all be out to make their mark against the strong international field as well as the experienced British world champions in the Recycling.co.uk squad. World road race silver medallist Nicole Cooke leads a squad including Rachel Heal, Nikki Harris and Kate Cullen.
More details: www.worldtrackcycling.com.