anchester looks set for an outstanding World Cup turnout in January, while kamikaze break king JackPICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE A total of 34 countries and 225 riders are expected to contest the crucial third round of the World Cup in Manchester on January 7-9. Hot on the heels of the outstanding British team performance in Los Angeles, the Manchester event is set to give a real kick-start to the New Year. The women's star shone particularly brightly in LA with Victoria Pendleton's gold medal in the keirin ensuring her first place in the World Cup classification. She will no doubt be determined to sustain this lead at Manchester. Santa came early too for endurance rider Emma Davies as she grabbed both a silver and bronze medal. Both riders are expected to extend their Christmas sparkle into the New Year as they take on the world's top riders once again in the third round of the four-event series. Jason Queally's LA performance in the kilo bodes well, keeping him at the head of the classification table, 10 points ahead of Theo Bos of Holland. Bos is set to ride the special Japanese keirin event in Manchester, leaving the way clear for Queally. Manchester will also see world and Olympic champion Chris Hoy ride his first kilo since taking the gold medal in Athens. Tickets for the event are on sale through Ticketmaster (Tel 0871 230 2621; www.ticketmaster.co.uk). Prices are: Adults: £18, £14, £10. Under-16s: £9, £7, £5. Family Ticket (2 adults, 2 children): £45. Three-day Adult Season: £48 - Kamikaze breakaway king Jacky Durand has announced his retirement. The 37-year-old Frenchman was hoping to ride another year with the Landbouwkrediet team, but did not get a contract offer. Winner of three stages of the Tour de France, the Tour of Flanders (1992) and Paris-Tours (1998), Durand will be remembered as a rider always ready to go on the attack, usually when the peloton was still more than 200 kilometres from the finish. Durand's final race as a pro was the Rhone-Alpes cyclo-cross championship in the French town of St Donat Herbasse last Sunday. He finished 10th. "There is a right time for everyone to finish. I was hoping to ride for 10 years and win a race from time to time. But I've ridden for 15 and won some great ones," he told the Dauphin Libr newspaper, also admitting that he would like to become a directeur sportif. French champion in 1993 and 1994, a number of Durand's most notable performances were the result of his willingness to attempt seemingly pointless attacks. In 1992 the peloton misjudged Durand's lead and strength, and he won the Tour of Flanders. It was a similar story at Paris-Tour in 1998. Analysing his career, Durand told AFP, "I've got some good qualities but I'm not the strongest rider in the world. Nevertheless, I've got a better palmars than riders who have often been well placed in the Classics. I've rarely been placed, I either win or I'm nowhere."