The second round of the UCI Track World Cup will take place in Cali, Colombia this week, and provides an important qualifying round for the 2011 world championships as well as a chance to begin to fine-tune performances for the 2012 Olympic Games.
In the world of track cycling, countries must balance travel costs and fatigue against the opportunities to compete and win. The US world record-holding women's pursuit team, Sarah Hammer, Dotsie Bausch and Lauren Tamayo, will race together for the first time since they set the mark in Mexico earlier this year. Racing under the OUCH Pro Cycling banner, they won't see the Australians who won in Melbourne, but will face strong competition from the Germans who claimed silver last month.
Australia's sprinters Anna Meares and Shane Perkins, who won their events in Melbourne, will not be present, opening the door for Victoria Pendleton and Jason Kenny of Great Britain to take over the World Cup lead.
Great Britain will come full gas with its top men's sprint team, while New Zealand will send a strong men's pursuit team to try and gain back the gold.
North America will be well represented, with the national team fielding a men's sprint team and Bobby Lea for the omnium, while the women will focus on the endurance events. The OUCH pro team will field the men's and women's pursuit teams as well as Jimmy Watkins in the sprint and keirin. Canada will try and capture the omnium titles with Tara Whitten and Zach Bell and will also take on the team events.
The Cali World Cup is also an important opportunity for the South and Central American teams to qualify riders, and the host country of Colombia, Cuba, Chile, Mexico and Venezuela all are fielding packed teams.
A total of 300 riders from 38 different countries are set to take part in the racing which begins on Thursday, December 16 and runs through Saturday the 18th.