Manchester World Cup draws Olympians

At the press conference held to kick off the track World Cup in Manchester on Thursday, four...

At the press conference held to kick off the track World Cup in Manchester on Thursday, four Olympians, including Britain's Chris Hoy and Bradley Wiggins and Australian sprinters Anna Meares and Ryan Bayley, spoke about their form and expectations going into a weekend packed with racing.

Hoy is on deck for plenty of racing. "It's quite a big weekend for me in terms of the volume of racing with the kilo on Friday, the sprint on Saturday, and the team sprint and Japanese Keirin on Sunday. The results are important but it is also a sort of dress rehearsal for the world championships."

While many riders are using the Manchester World Cup as a dry run for Worlds at the end of next month, the Australian team has yet to be finalized. Double Olympic medallist Bayley is aiming to secure his spot on the worlds team. "I am racing in the sprint at Manchester and hoping to qualify myself a sprint spot in the team. I am pretty sure that we have got enough spots, but I would rather do it on my own merits. I will be riding the sprint and the team sprint and then the JKA Keirin on Sunday. All of the best sprinters in the world are here for that and I am looking forward to it. It's always a hard race."

Current 500m time trial record holder Anna Meares will not be riding the women's team sprint with her sister Kerrie. "Kerrie is at home in Adelaide," said Anna: "I will be riding the team sprint with Christine Bayley. Kerrie hasn't done a qualifying time to ride for the Australian team at the world championships yet, and she has until Sunday to do it, and then it will be between Kerrie and Christine for who rides at the worlds in the team sprint."

Meares played down the idea of another world record attempt in Manchester. "I am tempted," she said, "but I just feel that there is no need for me to ride another 500 until the world champs. I am chasing the rainbow jersey this year for that event particularly. I just don't think it is necessary to really push myself after some tough competitions and a thirty-hour flight because I can write myself off after two laps. I don't want to do that with four weeks to go to the world championships."

Manchester will hold the world track championships in 2008.

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