A team sprint showdown between England and Scotland is expected to be one of the highlights of the Manchester round of the World Cup track series, December 9-11. The British team is fielding a trio of Scots in Olympic kilo champion Chris Hoy, national sprint champion Craig MacLean and young Scottish star Ross Edgar, but UCI regulations also allow trade-sponsored squads at World Cups. Enter the Science in Sport team of World team sprint champions Jason Queally and Jamie Staff and emerging sprint star Matthew Crampton, who all happen to hail from south of the border.
Chris Hoy is looking forward to the clash. "The team sprint will be an important contest," he said. "Whilst we will be out to win for Great Britain it will be interesting for us Scots to test the form of the English riders. If we go head to head it will be taken very seriously as whoever comes out on top will have a psychological boost in advance of the [Commonwealth] Games in Melbourne."
Racing as, in effect, national teams at Manchester will also help the teams learn to race together, which will help preparation against teams such as Australia.
"In the past the Aussies have had a bit of an advantage having the experience of always competing together," said Hoy. "The World Cup will give us an opportunity to race at top level as the home nation which should level the playing field a bit and really help our preparation. We have strength in depth and with riders like Marco Librizzi boosting the squad confidence is pretty high."
The Scottish and English teams will still have their work cut out to make it through to the final. The Netherlands will be fielding the team who came a narrow second to Great Britain at the world championships earlier this year with Theo Bos, Tuen Mulder and Tim Veldt set to race.
Fore more information see www.worldtrackcycling.com.