Ticket sales for the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Manchester (February 23-25) are already ahead of schedule. Event organiser Alan Rushton is looking forward to a full house in the Manchester Velodrome with the home fans getting behind the British team.
"It's the biggest track cycling event on the calendar outside of the World Championships," said Rushton. "Obviously this time we are hosting the last counting event in the World Cup series. All the competing nations are expected to put out their strongest teams in a bid to win the title and qualify for the World Championships in Palma, Mallorca in March.
"The British team is likely to include the household names that have already won world championship or Olympic medals like Chris Hoy, Chris Newton, Jason Queally and Victoria Pendleton. ... And let's not forget that we will be privileged to watch them battle it out with the world class athletes from Australia, Holland, France and Germany."
British Cycling have already built on their success in track cycling in recent years developing a young talent pool targeting success on the world stage at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympics. Sprinters Jason Kenny and Anna Blyth are only two of the squad expected to be racing in Manchester in February.
British Cycling's performance director Dave Brailsford is in no doubt of the importance of the Manchester round. "Obviously the event takes on extra significance as the teams vie to consolidate their world championship starts and the overall world cup winners will be decided," said Brailsford. "It will be a great pleasure to ride in front of a home crowd in a packed velodrome. We would encourage the crowd to get behind the British team to inspire them to produce a great result. We now have a whole raft of younger riders too who will be able to ride in the Trade teams."
UK Sport is continuing its support for cycling by investing up to £75,000 in the event from its National Lottery funded World Class Events Programme. The event is also one of many sporting events being funded by Manchester City Council in 2007 ahead of a year of world championship events in 2008 which includes the UCI Track Cycling World Championships.
Full details of the programme can be found on www.worldtrackcycling.com.