Top riders from six nations plus numerous local champions will compete in 22 events at The Sydney Thousand and Match Race of the Century, to be held at Dunc Gray Velodrome this Sunday afternoon.
The Match race of the Century sees the return of Ryan Bayley, winner of the sprint and keirin double at the Athens Games, but a rider who missed out much of this year through injury. He will face German sprint world champion Rene Wolff in a best of three heats showdown. In addition to Wolff, Germany has sent Mathias John, who starred at the recent Moscow Track World Cup.
Other Australian representatives include local hero Shane Kelly, Meares sisters Anna and Kerrie, and Bayley's sister Kristine. Of particular interest is the return to the velodrome of Tour de France star Robbie McEwen. The 33 year-old Queenslander will race in his home state on Sunday morning before flying south for two races in the afternoon - the aces scratch and the motor-paced grand prix, both 30 lap encounters.
There are also riders from New Zealand, Zimbabwe, France, Japan and the 14-member Korean squad, currently preparing for the Asian Games in Delhi, India, next month. Australia's most historic track cycling race, the Sydney Thousand, began in 1903 at the Sydney Cricket Ground where riders competed on a concrete path skirting the boundary fence. It attracted crowds of up to 54,000 people who flocked to see Major Taylor, an Afro American, who was the biggest drawcard in the world at the time.
Racing at commences at 2.30pm AEST and tickets are priced at $20 with free parking.