Don’t miss your chance to see the best track riders in the world competing over the next three days
PICTURE BY TDWSPORT.COM The third leg of the World Cup track series begins at the Manchester velodrome this afternoon (Friday), and tickets are still available for a meeting that has pulled together a host of Olympic and world champions. In addition, the three-day event that runs through until Sunday concludes with a Special Keirin competition pitting some of the most explosively fast riders in the world against each other with a prize pot of £45,000 at stake. Tickets for all three days of racing can still be bought through Ticketmaster’s hotline (0871 230 2621) or through their website – www.ticketmaster.co.uk There will be many highlights over the next three days. Olympic kilometre champion Chris Hoy is set to make his first appearance in that event since he took the gold medal in Athens five months ago. Recently made an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List, Hoy also teams up with 2000 Olympic kilo champion Jason Queally and Craig MacLean for the team sprint. Olympic pursuit gold medallist Bradley Wiggins was also recognised by the Queen in the Honours List, receiving an OBE. He’s tackling the endurance events in Manchester, notably the points race where he faces Russia’s Olympic gold medallist and current World Cup leader Mikhael Ignatiev. Rob Hayles is set to pick up Wiggins’ gauntlet in the individual pursuit. He will face strong opposition from an old rival, Spain’s Sergi Escobar of Spain, who narrowly defeated Hayles in last year’s World Championship final and also took the bronze medal in Athens. There is also a high-class turn-out for the women’s events, particularly in the points race. The top three in the World Cup standings, Lyudmyla Vypyraylo (Ukraine), Erin Mirabella (USA) and Alexis Rhodes (Australia) will face two extremely competitive newcomers to this World Cup series in the shape of Britain’s Nicole Cooke and Australia’s Kathy Bates. Britain’s Victoria Pendleton will be aiming for a repeat of her round two victory in the keirin at Los Angeles. Pendleton goes into the keirin with a five-point lead in the overall standings over Germany’s Susann Panzer, with Elisa Frisoni of Italy a further point in arrears. Clara Sanchez, the world champion in the discipline, makes her World Cup 2004/5 debut. There is also a bonus for fans attending Saturday’s racing, when Darren Kenny, a double gold medal winner at the Paralympics, is set to attack the IPC Hour Record for classification 3 riders. The first session of racing starts at 13.00 on Friday afternoon, with the second session due to start at 18.00. Finals on the first night include the scratch race, the women’s points race, the men’s keirin, the women’s sprint and Hoy going in the kilometre.