In the run up to the 2016 Olympics in Rio, track cycling teams are going to be anxious to see where they stand with their rivals while trying to avoid injury and not burning themselves out ahead of the competition that really counts this summer. Team GB once again seems to be the team to knock off its perch at the top spot, so everyone will be watching the team at the UCI World Championships on March 2-6.
Team GB on form
One of the stars of 2012 was Team GB’s Laura Trott, who seems to be on a charge for Gold in Rio. She won Silver and Gold at the UCI Track Cycling World Cup event in Hong Kong late last year, and looked to be the one to beat in women’s cycling this year. Watch out for her in the omnium and the scratch race in March – and also expect medals and honours for the British star later this year!
Manx Rocket Mark Cavendish is going to be competing in March too. After many years as a sprinter on the Grand Tour road circuit, he’s hunting for medals on the track this year. In Hong Kong he seemed to be on course to do well at Rio, though he didn’t take any medals home with him. Speaking after the Hong Kong event, Cavendish seemed happy with his first serious track cycling competition for some time. He said, “I’m really pleased, personally, I did better than I thought I was going to do. I’d have been happy with a top ten here so to get fourth…”
Speaking of the Hong Kong performance as a whole, Team GB head coach Iain Dyer said “We’ve had established riders do what they do best and we’ve had young riders step up and be counted, which is great too. There’s some good momentum in the team. Belief is there and really looking forward to the worlds in London in just over a month’s time.”
Other teams to watch?
Australia are on the hunt to knock Team GB off its perch, with a number of real contenders in the mix. The team from down under look set to be a serious challenger to come out on top both at the London and the Rio events. Watch out for Anna Meares who is looking for a number of medals in Rio. New Zealand is also biting at the heels of Team GB with an on form men’s team.
In the warm up events to the Olympics, you do get strange results that don’t always match the form book. Teams will be telling their athletes not to throw everything they have at an event as they could get injured. Other teams will have a real star they only want to show at Rio, so will be keeping their cards to their chest. Again, the key players will be watching each other carefully to spot any weaknesses so it will be tense at times too – particularly with big stars on the track who will want their World Champions jersey so will be going hard, but may want their Rio medal so much more.
Either way, the World Championships at Lee Valley stadium is going to be a great event and will be really worth your while, even if only to give Team GB the send off it deserves!