The giants of track sprinting will fight it out in the second international keirin during the Manchester round of the track world cup on December 11. With a £47,000 prize fund on offer at the Manchester Velodrome riders will be out for a large slice of the cash.
Olympic keirin champion Ryan Bayley and current world keirin champion Tuen Mulder have both signed up to race in Mancehster, with the Australian dual Olympic medallist the star attraction of the event. Dutch rider Mulder took the world title in Bayley's absence the world championships in Los Angeles earlier this year and will be looking to prove his dominance as the world champion.
Numerous past and present Olympic and world champions will also be riding, including last year's international keirin winner Mickael Bourgain, his French teammate Arnaud Tournant, German star Jan Van Eijden, Dutch powerhouse Theo Bos and 2003 keirin world champion José Antonio Escuredo.
British will riders Jamie Staff, Chris Hoy, Craig MacLean and Ross Edgar are confirmed to race, and will also be joined by Japanese riders Takahiro Arai, Narihiro Inamura, Harutomo Watanabe and Takashi Kaneko. These riders are used to the extreme action of the keirin event and will demonstrate exactly why it is such a popular sport in Japan.
To spice up the event this keirin will follow a unique formula. Instead of heats being announced in advance there will be a trackside draw made immediately before each round of the event. It's likely riders won't know the tactics of their opponents in advance, which can only add to the rough and tumble of each heat. Event director Alan Rushton said, "All of these riders have proven speed so that the rider who can think fastest on the bike and respond to attacks as each round evolves is likely to be the winner."
For full details of the race programme on each day visit www.worldtrackcycling.com.