Reigning World Champions and world record holders, Anna Meares and Kaarle McCulloch, will reunite for their first team sprint of the season when they line up in the final round of the 2010-2011 UCI Track World Cup Classics being staged in Manchester from 18 to 20 February.
The pair head an Australian line up of experienced campaigners and emerging talent in the final major competition before the team is selected for the UCI Track World Championships in Apeldoorn, Netherlands from 23 to 27 March.
The National Championships, that wrapped up yesterday in Sydney, pitted the pair against each other when New South Wales' McCulloch teamed with Cass Kell to defeat Meares and Stephanie Morton (SA) in the team sprint. Meares fought back in the individual events with victories in both the sprint and keirin.
It's unclear at this stage what other events they will contest with coaching staff yet to finalise the start lists for the sprint and keirin events.
Meares told Cyclingnews that she was looking forward to the challenge in Manchester regardless of what events she contests.
"I honestly think I'm a good shot to finish top five in the events that I contest," she said. "I'm looking forward to the team sprint with Kaarle, we haven't teamed up yet this season so that will be really nice not only to do that but to be able to do it in front of a British crowd.
"That's going to be the most like what London is going to feel like so that's going to be a real opportunity to get some experience in that sense. This is a home world cup and you saw what a home world cup did for the Aussies and also for the Chinese – this is what it's going to be like for the British. They're coming out in force, they've got a huge team named they've got all of their Olympic riders plus some so I'm looking forward to the challenge, it's going to be a hard one."
Commonwealth Games champions Dan Ellis, Jason Niblett and Scott Sunderland have been named in the Team Jayco AIS line up for Manchester but Ellis' appearance is subject to him recovering from the shoulder injury he sustained in a crash during the quarter finals of the sprint competition at last week's Championships.
In the men's teams pursuit South Australian Rohan Dennis will lead a developing quartet in Manchester. Dennis, a member of Australia's 2010 World Championship winning teams pursuit, last week rode the third fastest 4000m time in history in the indvidual pursuit qualifying before fellow South Australian Jack Bobridge came out and set a world record.
In Manchester Dennis will be joined by 2010 junior teams pursuit World Champions Mitchell Lovelock-Fay (NSW) and Jordan Kerby (QLD) as well as Mitchell Mulhern. Commonwealth Games scratch race silver medallist Michael Freiberg will contest the omnium.
In the women's teams pursuit West Australia's Melissa Hoskins and Isabella King will line up with 2010 triple junior World Champion Amy Cure. The trio join a growing list of talented women bidding for a berth in the Australian pursuit team. Last week Hoskins, King and reigning World Champion Josie Tomic set an Australian record for the 3km distance. Tomic's world champion team mates Sarah Kent (WA) and Ashlee Ankudinoff (NSW) did not race the event in Sydney.
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