Britons looking for gold in LA

Procycling editor Jeremy Whittle previews the next four days of action at the World Track Championsh

Procycling editor Jeremy Whittle previews the next four days of action at the World Track Championsh
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM Jamie Staff, Jason Queally and Chris Hoy of Great Britain will be seeking to avenge the disappointment of defeat at the Athens Olympic Games in the team sprint final at the 2005 UCI World Track Championships tonight in Los Angeles. "We've got some unfinished business to take care of," said the GB team's coach David Brailsford of the four days of racing at the ADT Event Center velodrome in Carson. But Brailsford's final three-man selection for the team sprint has led to another disappointing moment for Scot Craig MacLean, who misses out on the chance to make up for his below-par ride in Athens. "Craig's had a virus so he's not quite up there," said Brailsford. But as one door closes, another opens and bSydney Olympic gold medallist Jason Queally, who missed out in Athens, regains his place in the sprint trio. Rob Hayles will lead the GB challenge for the men's pursuit title, but expects, contrary to earlier reports, to again come up against Sergio Escobar of Spain, who beat him in January in the Manchester round of the World Cup series. With Olympic men's pursuit champion, Bradley Wiggins of Team GB, remaining in Europe to pursue his preparations for the Giro d'Italia, the championships are, in truth, a little short of the pursuiting elite, but make up for that with a plethora of renowned sprinters. Although Olympic sprint champion Ryan Bailey of Australia is not racing due to injury, names like Theo Bos, Shane Kelly, Arnaud Tournant, Mickael Bourgain, Jamie Staff and several others are sure to add plenty of fire to proceedings. In the women's sprints, Anna Meares of Australia, gold medallist in Athens in the 500-metre time trial and bronze medallist in the sprint, will be a leading contender. GB's Chris Hoy will be seeking to further enhance his status by becoming holder of the Olympic, Commonwealth and world titles. Normally, Hoy would surely have had a spill on the traffic-crammed roads of LA - when this has happened in the past prior to championships, it has seemed to be a good omen. As yet, there are no reports of any road rash for the Scot. With 36 nations competing, there are sure to be some surprise successes too, possibly from near neighbours to the USA, such as Mexico, and Canada. Belem Guerrero Mendez of Mexico, silver medallist in the points race in Athens, and Canadian Lori Ann Muenzer, gold medallist at the last Olympics, are both deserved wild cards for world titles. For American cycling, the championships provide a great and timely opportunity to build on the enthusiasm for cycling that has been fuelled by the superstar status of Lance Armstrong. Four days of great racing - and some home medal success - will surely further develop the growing market for cycling in a nation that has won nine Tours de France in the past 20 years. "This is the most athletically gifted field assembled in the US for a track cycling event in the past 20 years," said USA cycling chief Gerard Bisceglia. "Whether you're a cycling nut or just a sports fan in general, it really is a must-see event, not only because of the sheer talent that will be participating, but also because of the frequency such a spectacle takes place in the United States."
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  • Discipline: Road, Mountain, Urban, Womens
  • Location: UK, USA, Australia
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