Meares to compete in 12th World Championships
Australia’s Anna Meares, a 10-time world champion on the track, will participate in her 12th UCI Track World Championships in France from February 18-22. She is just one rainbow jersey away from becoming the most successful female cyclists in the history of track racing. She currently shares the lead with Frenchwoman Felicia Ballanger.
“I am really happy with where I am at, but I am not giving myself outcome-based goals,” said Meares, who secured silver medals in the keirin and time trial 2014 World Championships in Colombia.
“I am in a very different place now than 12 months ago, I am much more content with my preparation and my goals. And I know that this race will be better than my last. My goal is all about Rio in 2016 and these World Championships will be a huge step to prepare me for that.”
Meares will be back in the team sprint with former partner Kaarle McCulloch, with which she rode to two team sprint world titles and bronze at the London Olympic Games.
“I am hugely excited to be riding with Kaarle again, this time with a little bit of a twist,” Meares said, revealing that she will swap her lead-out role to that of anchor. “But I am little nervous being in second wheel, there is a lot of pressure, a lot of things you have to get right.
“But Kaarle is riding faster than she ever has, a so I think this is going to be a great combination."
British women’s endurance team aim to defend two World titles in France
British Cycling announced the 19 riders that will compete in the upcoming UCI Track World Championships.
Laura Trott will lead the women’s team pursuit squad in their quest to secure a fifth consecutive world title. The other members of the team pursuit are Katie Archibald, Elinor Barker, Ciara Horne and Joanna Rowsell. Rowsell will also aim to defend her world title in the individual team pursuit and Trott will compete in the omnium.
The men’s endurance team will include Steven Burke, who has recovered from a broken collarbone in January, Ed Clancy, Andy Tennant and Matt Gibson. Mark Christian and Owain Doull will compete in the Madison, and Jon Dibben will race the omnium.
The men’s sprint team will include Kian Emadi, Philip Hindes, Jason Kenny and Callum Skinner, while the women’s sprint team will feature Katy Marchant, Jess Varnish and Victoria Williamson. Last year, Great Britain took the bronze medal in the women’s team sprint with Varnish and Becky James, who is currently recovering from a knee injury.
Absent De Ketele hurts Belgium's chances for gold
The Belgian men's endurance team will be missing 2012 Madison World Champion Kenny De Ketele in Paris next week. De Ketele has struggled to find his top form since last October's European Championships, which were held in Guadeloupe.
Although he managed to win the Gent Six Day with partner Jasper De Buyst, he has not felt himself for months, and suspects he may have picked up a bug while on Guadeloupe.
Both riders were looking for revenge this year after being denied the rainbow jersey in the Madison at the 2014 World Championships in a 30-minute long deliberation by the race jury. Ultimately, the Spanish team was awarded a lap and pushed over them into the gold medal position.
"I really wanted to set something straight," De Ketele said to Belga. "But that will not happen now. I've been sickly, could not train well and now cannot race the World Championships."
De Buyst also hoped De Ketele could be in Paris for the race, but once it was clear that he would not, he tried to recruit Iljo Keisse from his road obligations with Etixx-Quickstep for the Madison.
"When I realized that Kenny could not there be, I was hoping that Iljo Keisse could ride the Worlds. We would definitely have been one of the strongest pairs," De Buyst said. "Unfortunately it was not practicable. Iljo and I discussed it, but it simply could not happen because he is racing the Tour of Oman."
"It's too bad, but with Otto Vergaerde I have the potential to win. Vergaerde is young, but also strong. I still hope for a medal or title."
Belgian women’s team pursuit out of World Championships
The Belgium women’s team pursuit squad did not qualify a team to participate in the Track World Championships, and thus will not be able to compete in the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016.
”This project is cancelled," said Kelly Druyts, who won the gold medal in the scratch race at the World Championships last year in Cali, Colombia. ”The core of our team is not deep enough. It is targeted at youth to Tokyo in 2020, Rio 2016 is no longer a dream.”
Kenny aims for World title in the men’s sprint
Olympic medallist and former world champion Jason Kenny is aiming to add another rainbow jersey to his collection at the upcoming Track World Championships. “I would like to win more world titles,” Kenney said in a British Cycling press release.
“I've got a lot of medals but not a lot of them are gold at a World Championships. I've only got two golds so it would be nice to kind of stick a few more in there.”
Kenny won world titles in the sprint in 2011, after being promoted to the gold medal when French rider Grégory Baugé received a back dated suspension for missing an anti-doping test, and in the keirin in 2013. He also won Olympic gold medals in the team sprint in 2008 in Beijing, and team sprint and the individual sprint in 2012 in London.