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Last chance for glory in World Cup final

The Beijing velodrome

The Beijing velodrome
(Image credit: AFP)

The UCI Track Cycling World Cup wraps up with the round in Beijing this weekend, and with only three competitions sewn up, the racing will be wide open for those seeking the prestige of winning the white World Cup leader's jersey at the Olympic Laoshan Velodrome.

With 9 jerseys for men and 8 for women, there will be plenty of action from the top riders, as well as hard racing from those countries still looking to qualify spots for the World Championships in Copenhagen in March.

The British squad is secure in its qualification and is sending a young team to Beijing to gain experience. They'll be looking to hold onto the lead in the men's team pursuit, whre they have a two point advantage over Spain.

The relative proximity to Oceania means the Australian and New Zealand teams will field full squads in search of their continued ascendancy over the British. While dominant sprinters Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton remain home in the UK, Shane Perkins and Anna Meares will look to move up in the overall standings in Beijing.

Meares has a strong lead in the 500m TT, thanks to wins in Manchester and Melbourne, but will need to make up ground in the sprint on leader Willy Kanis (Netherlands).

Young Josie Tomic has a good chance of taking over the individual pursuit lead from the absent Briton Wendy Houvenaghel, while Meares is in a dead heat with hometown favourite Shuang Guo (China) and Christin Muche (Germany) in the women's keirin.

On the men's side, Perkins needs to make up a three-point deficit on Kevin Sireau if he hopes to take the World Cup lead in the sprint. World Champion in the Keirin, Max Levy (Germany) has continued his strong form and will look to defend it to the end while riding for his new team, Cofidis. The Germans have a commanding lead over Cofidis in the team sprint.

The Germans currently lead the team standings, thanks in part to the dominant Madison team which sewed up the World Cup win in Cali, and its sprinters Levy and Christin Muche, leader of the women's keirin standings.

The Russian and Ukrainian teams will also field strong squads in China this weekend in defense of the men's pursuit (Vitaly Shchedov - Ukraine) and women's scratch race (Evgenlya Romanyuta). Look for both countries to make strides in the team pursuits as well.

The home town team, China, has its best chance for victory in the women's sprint events, where Shuang Guo is within reach of both the sprint and keirin titles.

Current World Champions

Men's Sprint: Grégory Bauge (France)
Men's Kilometre TT: Stefan Nimke (Germany)
Men's Individual pursuit: Taylor Phinney (United States)
Men's Team pursuit: Denmark
Men's Team Sprint: France
Men's Keirin: Maximilian Levy (Germany)
Men's Scratch Race: Morgan Kneisky (France)
Men's Points Race: Cameron Meyer (Australia)
Men's Madison: Denmark (Morkov/Rasmussen)
Men's Omnium: Leigh Howard (Australia)
Women's Sprint: Victoria Pendleton (Great Britain)
Women's 500m TT: Simona Krupeckaite (Lithuania)
Women's Individual Pursuit: Alison Shanks (New Zealand)
Women's Team Pursuit: Great Britain
Women's Team Sprint: Australia
Women's Keirin: Shuang Guo (People's Republic of China)
Women's Scratch Race: Yumari Gonzalez Valdivieso (Cuba)
Women's Points Race: Giorgia Bronzini  (Italy)
Women's Omnium: Josephine Tomic (Australia)

2008-9 World Cup winners

Men's Sprint: Shane Perkins (Australia)
Men's Kilometre TT: Yevhen Bolibrukh (Ukraine)
Men's Individual pursuit: Valery Kaykov (Russia)
Men's Team pursuit: Spain
Men's Team Sprint: Cofidis
Men's Keirin: Azizulhasni Awang (Malaysia)
Men's Scratch Race: Tim Mertens (Belgium)
Men's Points Race: Chris Newton (Great Britain)
Men's Madison: Germany
Women's Sprint: Lyubov Shulika (Ukraine)
Women's 500m TT: Jinjie Gong (China)
Women's Individual Pursuit: Joanna Roswell (Great Britain)
Women's Team Pursuit: Great Britain
Women's Team Sprint: Germany
Women's Keirin: Willy Kanis (Netherlands)
Women's Scratch Race: Lizzy Armistead (Great Britain)
Women's Points Race: Giorgia Bronzini (Italy)
 

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