Jimmy Casper and Yaroslav Popovych are among the latest Pro Tour riders to take to the track. The two Tour de France stage winners will team up with Bradley Wiggins and Roger Hammond, respectively, at the next round of the Manchester Velodrome's Revolution on November 18th.
Saunier Duval will send Giro d'Italia winner Gilberto Simoni to team up with David Millar at the same event. Millar has recently honed his abilities on the track, taking the national pursuit title in early October. As to his fellow roadies' chances on the track, Millar said, "Jimmy [Casper] has some good experience on the track. I know him well from my time at Cofidis. He comes from the Picardie region of France which is the heartland of French track racing... I think he’ll be a bit nervous, but knowing Jimmy that will actually benefit him."
"Popovych I don’t know so well, but I respect his talent a great deal" Millar continued. "He has been hailed as the next big thing since he arrived in Italy as a teenager and deservedly so. It’s true that he is an unknown quantity on the track, but let's not forget he comes from the Russian school of cycling; this normally means as an adolescent riding around in circles in very cold velodromes, so I’m think he’ll be OK! It’s going to be a fun night, but also a little scary at first for us more used to brakes and freewheels!"
The influx of professional road stars could be intimidating to the national racers who make up the bulk of the field, but some riders are excited to ride on the boards alongside their heros. "Riding with all these professionals will be amazing; I can’t wait!" said Olympic development rider Adam Blythe. "I think some of the riders will be hard to beat such as Wiggins and Millar, as they both have some good experience on the track. The others don’t have as much experience but I can still imagine that they will kick everyone’s ass!"
These riders will have plenty to keep them busy with an action packed race program, including a devil elimination (miss and out), points and scratch race, and a few additional events to really put their track skills to the test. Tickets for Revolution can be purchased at www.cyclingrevolution.com or by calling 07005 942 579.