The scene is set this weekend for the second round of the UCI Track World Cup at the Manchester Velodrome. The meet has attracted 244 riders from 38 nations, including three Olympic Champions and 12 World Champions, and the competition for podium places and World Championships qualifying points will be intense.
The finals action will kick off on Friday evening, December 9, with the kilometre time trial, where Scottish hero and Olympic Kilo Champion Chris Hoy will come face to face with England's Jason Queally. More sprinting will take place in the men's keirin final as well as the women's sprint, where World Sprint Champion Victoria Pendleton will come up against the Keirin World Champion Clara Sanchez, 500m TT World Champion Natallia Tsylinskaya, the Junior Sprint and 500m TT World Champion Lizandra Guerra as well as Australian rival Anna Meares.
In the endurance finals, Chris Newton will take on the World Scratch Race Champion Alex Rasmussen in the men's scratch race final with Matt Gilmore and Magnus Backstedt joining the mix. Backstedt will also feature in the pursuit racing against British pursuit specialists Rob Hayles and Paul Manning, as well as World Championships bronze medalist Levi Heimans. In the women's racing, Nicole Cooke will feature in the points race looking to make her mark on the track. She will face a tough challenge from Olympic silver medalist Belem Guerrero of Mexico and Katherine Bates of Australia.
The competition will continue on Saturday, December 10, with the men's sprint finals, where the field will be packed with the world's best sprinters. Olympic Sprint Champion Ryan Bayley will come face to face with the Junior Sprint World Champion and rising German star Maximillian Levy, along with sprint legends such as Arnaud Tournant, Theo Bos, Damian Zielinski, Roberto Chiappa and Craig MacLean.
There will be more pursuit racing with two British squads in the team pursuit where the British squad of Andy Tennant, Geraint Thomas, Ross Sander and Ian Stannard will take on World Team Pursuit Champions Rob Hayles, Chris Newton and Paul Manning, who will be joined by Madison World Champion Mark Cavendish in the Recycling.co.uk team. They will face tough international opposition, especially from the Dutch squad of Heimans, Mouris, Schep and Terpstra, who came second to Great Britain at the World Championships. Other finals on Saturday will include the women's individual pursuit, featuring World Time Trial Champion Karin Thürig, the women's 500m TT and the men's points race.
The final day on Sunday, December 11, is guaranteed to provide some awesome racing with the men's madison final, Team sprint finals and the women's scratch race and keirin final, as well as the JKA Japanese Keirin with a £47,000 prize fund. World Madison Champions Rob Hayles and Mark Cavendish will be flying the flag for GB in the Madison, but they will face strong opposition from Belgians Matt Gilmore and Iljo Keisse and Russia's Mikhail Ignatiev and Nikolai Troussov. In the team sprint, the Great Britain team of Chris Hoy, Craig MacLean and Ross Edgar will come up against strong squads from Australia, France, the Netherlands, Japan and Poland.
More information: www.worldtrackcycling.com