By Laura Weislo
The fourth round of the UCI Track Cycling World cup heads back to the Laoshan velodrome in Beijing: the site of triumph for the British team and a few others this past summer at the Olympic Games.
But the make-up of the field and the atmosphere surrounding the track have done a huge turnabout from the smoggy, humid, oppressive conditions of August. Sub-zero temperatures have replaced sweltering summer days, and riders taking to the track during the pre-race training sessions have found the building to be quite a bit cooler than normal.
The level of competition will not be quite what it was this past summer as many of the gold medallists are still building their fitness after a break and will choose to skip the Beijing event.
For riders heading to China from the warmth of the Southern Hemisphere, the change in temperature was startling. "I knew it would be cold but was not really prepared for the minus 11 temperature that greeted us," said Malaysian Josiah Ng, who is based in Melbourne, Australia. "Luckily we're racing indoors, but I hear that even in the track it's not that warm, about 16 degrees. Hopefully they will turn up the heat come race day."
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