By Les Clarke
World sprint champion Rene Wolff has arrived in Australia ahead of Sunday's Sydney Thousand track carnival, where he'll be riding against dual Olympic gold medallist Ryan Bayley in a match sprint. After a strong showing at the Revolution track meeting in Manchester on Sunday, Wolff and countryman Matthias John arrived in Sydney yesterday and were special guests at yesterday's pre-race gathering at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Australian riders Ryan Bayley and Kate Bates joined UCI vice president Ray Godkin, Australian cricketing legend Doug Walters and representatives from the German-Austrian Association in Sydney ahead of what is Australia's richest one-day track racing carnival which will also features rides from Ben Kersten and Robbie McEwen.
Wolff, 27, who is familiar with the Dunc Gray velodrome after racing several world cup events there, said that he feels he's in good form, and having raced well against a very strong British team at the recent Revolution 10 in Manchester can bring this form into the Sydney Thousand on November 27. Wolff has pared back his schedule this season and will only ride the Los Angeles round of the world cup, saying, "Because I am world champion from last season I've alreayd qualified for world's. I'll only ride the world cup event in Los Angeles and then focus on preparing for world's."
With two young children at home, Wolff is pleased he'll be able to spend some time with his family after two years without a vacation. "I started my preparation for the Olympics in September 2003, and haven't had a vacation since then; it's been good to enjoy some time with them." And with the sun shining in Sydney, Wolff was able to enjoy some traditional pre-race preparations conducted with the help of Bates and Walters.
Ryan Bayley will be looking to start his season with some strong racing on Sunday, and although he says he's not at peak fitness just yet, he's confident of going fast at Sydney's Dunc Gray velodrome. "Everyone thinks I don't train much, even my coaches sometimes think I don't train; but it's going pretty well at the moment," said Bayley. Both riders appear to be quietly confident, and although both are playing down their form along with their chances, they're sure to be raring to go and prove who is better - the world champion or the Olympic champion - come Sunday.