More than 200 of the world's champion cyclists will contest the opening round of the UCI World Cup Classics Series at the Dunc Gray Velodrome from November 17-19. Twenty nine countries have so far confirmed their attendance, but with hometown support and early World Cup points on offer, the Australians will be the ones to beat.
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 Australia will actually field two teams. The inclusion of the Australian 'Cyclones' National team and the SouthAustralia.com-AIS professional team means fans will not only have the chance to cheer on their heroes, they will also witness the feats of our emerging young stars with their sights set on the Beijing Olympic Games and beyond.
Olympic and Commonwealth Games dual gold medallist, Ryan Bayley, will spearhead the attack for the SouthAustralia.com-AIS team and is eager for early season success. "I've been training really hard in preparation for this opening round and the quality of the field will be top class," said Bayley, who will contest the sprint, keirin and teams sprint events. "I'm really looking forward to taking on the internationals.
"It's always amazing to race in front of a home crowd and to have big, international competition on our turf so we just want to go out and win," Bayley added. "Mind you the rest of the world doesn't necessarily agree with that so we'll have to work for it."
Joining Bayley in pro team colours for the sprint events will be Commonwealth Games team mate Shane Perkins and reigning kilometre time trial Junior World Champion, Scott Sunderland. The team also boasts reigning teams pursuit World Champions Peter Dawson, Stephen Wooldridge and Mark Jamieson along with 3km Junior World Record holder Michael Ford and Australian Madison Champion, Simon Clarke.
The Australian Cyclones will be led by reigning Olympic and Commonwealth champion and 500m World Record holder, Anna Meares who'll be joined by three other Commonwealth Games champions, Kate Bates, Katie Mactier and Sean Finning, plus medallists Rochelle Gilmore and Kerrie Meares. Mark French, Daniel Ellis and Joel Leonard will cover the sprinter's events for the team while Cameron Meyer, who this year scored three gold medals at the Junior World Championships in Belgium, heads the contingent of 'young guns' looking to step up to elite level. Joining Meyer in the endurance events will be Richard England, Zac Dempster, Hayden Josefski and Nic Sanderson.
"We're all coming together at the end of this month for an intensive training camp to prepare for Sydney," said Bayley. "We'll definitely be ready to take on the world."
The countries so far confirmed for the Sydney World Cup are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hong Kong-China, Iran, Italy, Japan, Jamaica, Korea, Lithuania, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland and the Ukraine with more entries expected in coming weeks.
The international teams have not yet confirmed entry lists, but tickets are already on sale online via the Cycling Australia website - www.cycling.org.au - for three days of fast track action in 16 events.