Stars set for Manchester World Cup

Tickets are still available for the Manchester Track World Cup event, which starts on Friday with a

Tickets are still available for the Manchester Track World Cup event, which starts on Friday with a

The scene is set this weekend for three action packed days of championship racing in the UCI World Cup at the Manchester Velodrome. With 244 riders from 38 nations including thee Olympic champions and 12 world champion, the competition for podium places and the crucial world championship qualifying points will be intense.

The action will kick off on Friday 9th December with an evening packed full of finals. It will be England verses Scotland in the kilo final as Scottish hero and Olympic kilo champion Chris Hoy will come face to face with England's Jason Queally. More sprint action will take place in the men's keirin final, as well as the women's sprint where world champion Victoria Pendleton will come up against the keirin world champion Clara Sanchez, 500m TT world champion Natallia Tsylinskaya, the junior sprint and 500m TT world champion Lizandra Guerra and Australian rival Anna Meares.

In the endurance finals Chris Newton will take on the world scratch race champion Alex Rasmussen in the men's scratch, with Matt Gilmore and Magnus Backstedt joining the mix. Backstedt will also feature in the pursuit, racing against British pursuit specialists Rob Hayles and Paul Manning as well as world championship bronze medallist Levi Heimans. In the women's racing, Nicole Cooke will feature in the points race looking to make her mark on the track. She will face a tough challenge from Olympic silver medallist Belem Guerrero of Mexico and Katherine Bates of Australia.

The competition continues on Saturday 10th December with one of the highlights being the men's sprint finals where the field will be packed with the world's best. Olympic sprint champion Ryan Bayley will come face to face with the junior world champion and rising German star Maximillian Levy, along with sprint legends such as Arnaud Tournant, Theo Bos, Damian Zielinski, Roberto Chiappa and Craig MacLean.

There will be more pursuit racing with two British squads in the team pursuit, where the British squad of Andy Tennant, Geraint Thomas, Ross Sander and Ian Stannard will take on world team pursuit champions Rob Hayles, Chris Newton and Paul Manning, who will be joined by Madison world champion Mark Cavendish in the Recycling.co.uk team. They will face tough international opposition, especially from the Dutch squad of Heimans, Mouris, Schep and Terpstra, who came second to Great Britain at the world championships. Other finals on Saturday will include the women's individual pursuit, featuring world time trial champion Karin Thrig, the women's 500m TT and the men's points race.

The final day of action on Sunday 11th December is guaranteed to provide some awesome racing with the men's Madison final, the team sprint final and the women's scratch race and keirin final, not to mention the JKA Japanese Keirin with a £47,000 prize fund. World Madison champions Rob Hayles and Mark Cavendish will be flying the flag for GB in the Madison but they will face strong opposition from Belgian's Matt Gilmore and Iijo Keisse, and Russia's Mikhail Ignatiev and Nikolai Troussov. In the team sprint the Great Britain team of Chris Hoy, Craig MacLean and Ross Edgar will come up against strong squads from Australia, France, the Netherlands, Japan and Poland, setting up a superb finale to an excellent weekend of action.

For full details of the UCI World Cup programme on each day go to www.worldtrackcycling.com. Tickets for the UCI World Cup are still available and will be on sale on the door at the Manchester Velodrome.

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