Stars of the track cycling world have been gathering in Cali, Colombia, over the last few days in anticipation of the start of the 2015/16 UCI Track World Cup.
The World Cup is a winter series made up of three events, the first of which is taking place at Cali's Alicides Nieto Patiño velodrome from Friday to Sunday. The track, 250-metres in length and 1,003 metres above sea level, will be familiar to many of the riders, having hosted this year's Track World Championships as well as a round of the 2014/15 World Cup.
The meet sees the track season swing into full flow and represents an important milestone on the road to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. As well as building form and testing themselves in a competitive environment, riders will be able to secure UCI points needed to officially qualify for the Olympics next summer, as well as for the 2016 Track World Championships in London in March.
Bradley Wiggins, who’s aiming to bring the curtain down on his illustrious career with a final Olympic gold medal at Rio, will be hoping for success in the Team Pursuit with his Great Britain team. He, Owain Doull, Andy Tennant, Steven Burke, and Jon Dibben took gold recently at the European Championships and will certainly be among the favourites, though Wiggins played down the chances of the British squad as a whole over the three days, suggesting it's not their strongest line-up.
That said, Laura Trott will be hard to beat in the Omnium after her dominant display at the Euros, while Katie Archibald is also in good form after joining Trott in taking three golds in Switzerland.
Anna Meares is another veteran working towards more Olympic success at what would be her record-breaking fourth Games. Meares, who has five Olympic medals, two of which gold, will be looking to stamp her authority as reigning Keirin world champion and will also line up alongside Commonwealth champion Stephanie Morton in the Team Sprint. She forms part of an Australia squad that comes into the World Cup on the back of a highly successful Oceania Championships.
Francois Pervis will be hoping for more success at the Alicides Nieto Patiño velodrome after a storming World Championships earlier this year. The Frenchman won world titles in the Keirin, Sprint, and Kilo, and has such fond memories of the track that his baby has been given the middle name of 'Cali'.
Elsewhere Elia Viviani heads up the Italian squad and will be looking to build on his second successive European title in the Omnium as he targets an Olympic medal next summer. Competition will be stiffer with a worldwide field, though he could renew his clash with reigning Olympic champion Lasse Norma Hansen from Denmark. The Netherlands topped the medal tables at the Euros and Elis Ligtlee and Jeffrey Hoogland are among the favourites in Cali to replicate their success in the women's and men's sprints, while New Zealand will join Australia in providing a strong non-European charge, particularly in the Team Sprints.
Cyclingnews will be bringing full results from all the events across the three days.
Friday October 30
- Men's Team Pursuit (qualifying through to finals)
- Women's Team Pursuit (qualifying through to finals)
- Men's Team Sprint (qualifying through to finals)
- Women's Team Sprint (qualifying through to finals)
- Men's Points Race
Saturday October 31
- Women's Sprint (qualifying through to finals)
- Men's Omnium (rounds 1-3)
- Women's Omnium (rounds 1-3)
- Men's Keirin (round 1 through to final)
- Men's Individual Pursuit (qualifying and finals)
- Women's Scratch Race
Sunday November 1
- Men's Sprint (qualifying through to finals)
- Men's Omnium (rounds 4-6)
- Women's Omnium (rounds 4-6)
- Women's Keirin (round 1 through to final)
- Men's Madison