The first round of the 2013-2014 UCI Track World gets underway in Manchester on Friday and marks something of a milestone. For the first time at the World Cup, the women’s team pursuit will feature four-rider teams and take place over four kilometres.
Great Britain’s trio of Joanna Rowsell, Dani King and Laura Trott triumphed over the previous 3,000-metre distance at the London 2012 Olympics and they remain favourites in the discipline with the addition of an extra kilometre.
Rowsell, King and Trott are joined in Manchester by former junior world time trial champion Elinor Barker, who was herself part of the victorious team pursuit trio at the world championships in Minsk in February. The quartet set a new world record of 4:26.453 at the European Championships in Apeldoorn last month and will be expected to win out before the home crowd on Friday evening.
“I think we’ve adjusted to the four kilometres pretty well to be honest,” said Trott, according to the British Cycling website. “When it comes to turn length you get an extra lap so it is technically easier. It’s just a bit further.”
Friday evening also sees the final of the men’s team pursuit, where Great Britain’s four of Owain Doull, Ed Clancy, Steve Burke and Andy Tennant were the fastest qualifiers from the morning session, and they will face Australia’s Luke Davison, Alexander Edmondson, Mitchell Mulhern and Miles Scotson in the gold medal race.
The men’s omnium is the other major event that gets underway on Friday, with 2013 world champion Aaron Gate (New Zealand) among those lining up.
The main draw for the home fans in Manchester will be the British team, of course, and earlier this week, some of their leading lights spoke about their training regimen. Watch to the end for a competition to win a signed British jersey.