By Laura Weislo
In this post-Olympic year, the first World Cups of the season are providing a marvelous display of emerging young talent, and like the first round in Manchester, the three days of racing in Melbourne's Vodafone Arena will feature a huge crop of new faces. In fact, of the 171 riders on the start list, just a dozen are over 30, and 100 are under 23!
The biggest buzz for the Australian hosts ahead of the event is the performance of 21-year-old Jack Bobridge, who set a time which would have been good enough for a silver medal in the Olympic Games in the Oceania Championships individual pursuit last week. He should be a shoo-in for a gold medal since none of the British pursuiters are making the trip down under.
The Australian track programme took a big hit this summer in Beijing, where its veterans took home just one medal – but riders like Bobridge, junior world champion Josie Tomic, Leigh Howard, Glenn O'Shea and Kaarle McCulloch have shown some real promise and should challenge for the golds this week.
Speaking of the British, not a single British man is on the start list for Melbourne, but the three-woman wrecking crew from Manchester will be on hand to try and destroy the competition again. Between them, Lizzy Armistead, Katie Colclough and Joanna Roswell took home gold in every endurance event except the individual pursuit, where Olympian Wendy Houvenaghel took top honours. Australians Tomic, Ashlee Ankudinoff and Sarah Kent put in a strong team pursuit at the Oceania championships, however, and should push the British trio to be on top of their game.
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