There will be plenty of rainbow jerseys on the boards at the Manchester UCI World Cup this weekend, with World Madison Champions Rob Hayles and Mark Cavendish and World Scratch Race Champion Alex Rasmussen featuring in their respective events.
The madison, considered one of the most spectacular track events, will see three of the top four madison teams from the World Championships competing. Hayles and Cavendish will face tough opposition from Belgians Matt Gilmore and Iljo Keisse, who placed third at the World's, and Russia's Mikhail Ignatiev and Nikolai Troussov, who placed fourth. However, with a number of strong parings from other nations including Alex Rasmussen and Michael Morkov from Denmark, Fabio Masotti and Marco Villa from Italy, Richard England and Sean Finning from Australia, Guido Fulst and Leif Lampater from Germany and Spain's Joan Llaneras and Miguel Alzamora, a podium place will be hard to attain.
In the scratch race, World Champion Rasmussen will feature in a strong line up including Great Britain's Chris Newton, who is in good form leading into the meet. Newton would normally compete in the points race, the event in which he was World Champion in 2002, but due to a clash in Saturday's race program, he has opted to ride in the team pursuit instead. This leaves him free to test his form in the scratch race, which takes place as part of Friday's programme,
“I'm going quite well at the moment so the Scratch Race will be a good opportunity to stretch my legs," said Newton. "I'll stick to one tactic and if it works that's great but it's a tricky race and anything can happen, if you miss an attack that's it. It will be a tough race with the World Champion in there; he's pretty consistent so I'm sure he'll be up for it."
Other riders in the scratch race include Matt Gilmore and road star Magnus Backstedt as well as Scotland's James McCallum and fellow Brits Geraint Thomas and Ben Swift.
The men's scratch race final will take place on Friday 9th December with the madison final on Sunday the 11th. Full details at www.worldtrackcycling.com.