GB at full strength for World Cup

Britain is set to field its strongest track team since the Olympic Games in Athens when the World Cu

Britain is set to field its strongest track team since the Olympic Games in Athens when the World Cu
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE Britain's track team will be at full strength for the first time since the Athens Olympics when they line up for round three of the World Cup at Manchester from January 7-9. Gold medal heroes Bradley Wiggins and Chris Hoy return after missing the opening rounds, and should boost the team's prospects of moving into the top three overall. Britain is currently lying fourth of the 30 competing nations. Russia is in top spot followed by Holland and Germany. "We're up for it," declared team manager Shane Sutton. "The Olympic Games are over, it's time to move on and Manchester will be a good place to start. We've done well in the World Cup so far despite being understrength. Now, with home advantage, we'll be pushing for even better results." Olympic record holder Hoy will be favourite to take the kilometre time trial and will also be one of the mainstays of the Team Sprint squad. Wiggins, a triple medal winner at Athens, will concentrate on the endurance events. He will contest the scratch and points race, and team up with Rob Hayles in the Madison. Hayles also rides the pursuit and faces a grudge match against world champion Sergi Escobar. The Spaniard narrowly defeated Hayles in the world final at Melbourne, last May. The duo clashed again in the bronze medal ride at Athens, where again Escobar came out on top. "It would definitely be nice to put one over him this time," said Hayles. "I've beaten him once, in the rounds at Athens, but he went faster when the medal was at stake. I've already qualified for the Worlds after finishing second in the opening leg of the World Cup at Moscow, and a win over Escobar on my home ground would be a real bonus." Britain's team pursuiters, Hayles, Steve Cummings, Chris Newton and Paul Manning, silver medallists at Athens, could be on track for victory in Manchester, where Germany and Spain are likely to provide the strongest opposition. more. After a disappointing Olympics, team sprinters Chris Hoy, Craig MacLean and Jason Queally are aiming to put the record straight in Manchester. The final there could see a clash between Britain and Germany, whose powerful line up includes Athens gold medallists Stefan Nimke and Rene Wolff. There is strong British interest in the women's events where Victoria Pendleton leads the Keirin overall after scoring a brilliant win in Los Angeles. Victoria faces stiff competition from Germany's Susann Panzer, and Italy's Elisa Frisoni, who are currently second and third overall and eager to oust the British sprinter from top spot. Emma Davies should shine in the pursuit and scratch after showing good form in LA where she won silver and bronze medals. British fans also have the exciting prospect of seeing Britain's top women's road racer, Nicole Cooke, make her Track World Cup debut in the points race. Still only 21, the Welshwoman has a superb record that includes winning four junior world titles, a Commonwealth road race gold, the Road World Cup and this year's Giro d'Italia, The World Cup is a grand prix-style competition in which riders earn ranking points, counting towards world championship and Olympic qualification. Sydney hosts the final round of the 2004/5 series on February 18-20. GB team: Men: Steve Cummings, Rob Hayles, Paul Manning, Chris Newton, Bradley Wiggins, Ross Edgar, Chris Hoy, Craig MacLean, Jason Queally, Women: Nicole Cooke, Emma Davies, Nikki Harris, Jackie Marshall, Victoria Pendleton. TICKET INFORMATION Ticketmaster: Tel 0871 230 2621 www.ticketmaster.co.uk Adults: £18, £14, £10. Under 16: £9, £7, £5. Family Ticket (2 adults, 2 children): £45. Three-day Adult Season: £48 RACING INFORMATION: www.worldtrackcycling.com
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