Riders have begun to arrive in Sydney in preparation for the opening round of the UCI World Cup which kicks off at the Dunc Gray Velodrome this Friday. 242 riders representing 32 nations will compete in 16 events in three days of cycling action at the Sydney velodrome. The entry list includes eight reigning World Champions, Olympic and World Champion medallists, as well as five of Australia's Melbourne Commonwealth Games gold medallists.
Recently introduced changes to the UCI World Cup Series allow for professional track team entries, similar to the current set up for road and mountain bike racing, which means the host nation will actually field three teams. The inclusion of the Australian 'Cyclones' National team and the SouthAustralia.com-AIS and Drapac-Porsche professional team means fans will not only have the chance to cheer on their heroes, they will also witness the young stars with their sights set on the 2008 Olympic Games.
This is the sixth time this event has been staged in Sydney which first hosted a round in 2002. The World Cup ranks only behind the Olympics and World Championships in importance on the international track cycling calendar.
There will be seven professional track teams (two each from Australia and Spain, one each from the Ukraine, Russia and Great Britain) will participate. The eight reigning world champions include: Natallia Tsylinskaya (Blr), 500 metre time trial and sprint, Arnaud Tourant (Fra), teams sprint, Theo Bos (Ned), keirin and sprint, Chris Hoy (GBr), kilometre time trial, Isaac Galvez Lopez (Spa), Madison, Peter Dawson (Aus), teams pursuit, Mark Jamieson (Aus), teams pursuit, and Stephen Wooldridge (Aus), teams pursuit.
The winner of each event at the Sydney World Cup will receive the World Cup Classics leader's jersey in addition to the gold medal. Four rounds will be contested in the 2006-2007 series: Sydney, November 17 to 19, Moscow, December 15 to 17, Los Angeles, January 19 to 21, and Manchester, February 23 to 25.
Further information can be found here on the organizer's website.