Track world championships gearing up

Big names heading to Manchester in search of gold

The UCI Track Cycling World Championships will see 300 of the world's best track riders competing for gold on the Manchester velodrome between 26-30 March. There are 18 men's and women's events spread across five days.

One of the biggest medal battles is expected to be in the men's team sprint, with strong teams entered from France, Netherlands, Great Britain, Germany and Australia. The British will choose three men from Jamie Staff, Ross Edgar, Chris Hoy, Jason Kenny and Matt Crampton, while the Dutch team is already fixed with Theo Bos, Tim Veldt and Teun Mulder. The Australians have Ryan Bayley, Mark French, Ben Kersten and Daniel Ellis to choose from, and the French have finalised their lineup with Gregory Bauge, Kevin Sireau and Mickaël Bourgain. Top sprinter Arnaud Tournant is a reserve on the French team, but will ride in the Keirin.

The field for the men's kilometre time trial is strong, despite the event's omission from the Olympic Games this year. Francois Pervis, Didier Henriette (France), Ben Kersten, Scott Sunderland (Australia), Theo Bos and Teun Mulder (Netherlands) will all take part.

In the team pursuit, reigning world champions Great Britain have a six man pool of riders to draw from. Headed by Bradley Wiggins, the Brits have Ed Clancy, Steve Cummings, Gerraint Thomas, Steven Burke and Paul Manning to select their final squad. Similarly, world record holders Australia have six riders: Brad McGee, Luke Roberts, Graeme Brown, Brett Lancaster, Jack Bobridge and Mark Jamieson.

In the women's team sprint, British pair Victoria Pendleton and Shanaze Reade will be defending their world title, with youngster Anna Blyth as third nominee. Pendleton is also included on the women's sprint and keirin lists but will likely give the 500m time trial a miss with Reade and Blyth nominated for the two lap race.

The British women's team pursuiters will debut at the championships with Rebecca Romero, Jo Rowsell, Wendy Houvenaghel and Liz Armitstead on the short list for the final selection. They will be challenged by the German and Dutch favourites, as well as teams from Russia and the Ukraine.

A full list of riders will be available on Thursday evening on the official website at www.worldtrackcycling.com.

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