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Countdown to Beijing: First stop Majorca

The brand new Palma Arena

The brand new Palma Arena (Image credit: Palma Arena)

By Shane Stokes in Majorca

With just over a year to go to the Beijing Olympics, the world's best track riders will clash this week in the Palma Arena on the Spanish island of Majorca. The Games are still a long way off but important psychological boosts can be gained by a good showing here, as well as the considerable honour of world championship medals.

Housed in a brand new velodrome in the north of Palma, the 2007 World Track Cycling Championships will get underway at 10am on Thursday morning with the 200 metre time trial for the newly-reintroduced omnium series. Last held almost 40 years ago, it will see the competing riders fight it out in a range of events during the day, specifically a 200m flying start time trial, a 5km scratch race, a 3km individual pursuit (seeding riders on their results in the scratch race), a 15km points race and a kilometre time trial.

The winner will be determined by points, with the lowest cumulative number getting gold. Winners in each event get one point, with two points going for second and so on. Ben Kersten (Australia), Charles Bradley Huff (USA) and Dimitri De Fauw (Belgium) will be among the 18 riders who will scrap it out.

Qualifying and finals for the men's and women's team sprint also feature on day one, as does the individual pursuit. Last year's champions Grégory Bauge, Mickaël Bourgain and Arnaud Tournant are here once again and likely to ride for France, and should once again be up against 2006 silver and bronze medallists Great Britain and Australia. Germany took second in the last round of the World Cup in Manchester and will also be in the chase.

Read the full World Championships preview.

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