Manchester Track World Cup – Five titles up for grabs on day 1

We’ve been waiting for what feels like forever but at last, the TISSOT UCI Track Cycling World Cup has arrived in Manchester.

But there’s no slow start to proceedings at the National Cycling Centre, with five gold medals up for grabs on day one.

They will come in the women’s omnium as well as the scratch race and team sprint for both men and women, with Friday’s action also marking the start of the men’s team pursuit – so without further ado, here’s what we can expect from the first day of World Cup II.

Reigning World and European champion Katie Archibald will make her first appearance of the World Cup season in the omnium, just weeks after winning two titles at the European Championships.

With the global and continental titles already under her belt this year, Archibald will go into the event as favourite, and with a home crowd roaring her on every pedal revolution of the way, we could see something truly special from the Brit.

However, with the likes of Lotte Kopecky, Elisa Balsamo and Amalie Dideriksen also taking their place on the start line, it’s not going to be an easy ride for Archibald – but she’s ready for the challenge.

“I go into every event to see how you get on that number one step – it’s not about aiming for tenth,” said Archibald.

“I’m still learning the omnium. I was rewatching my races from the World Championships recently and the way you gauge your effort is something that I learn event after event.

“My ideal is that I want to go into the points race defending, rather than having to attack.

“You have to play to your advantage – if that’s what you’re used to and what you’re good at, then you’ve got to use that.”

World champion Rachele Barbieri headlines the women’s scratch race line-up but there’s no absence of British interest as they set their sights on a podium finish.

Emily Kay – who won double gold at the World Cup in Glasgow last year – is joined by teammate Ellie Dickinson on the start line, while Chris Latham and Matthew Walls will ride in the men’s event, the latter for 100% Me.

The men will face stiff competition in the form of Wim Stroetinga and Moreno De Pauw, as well as current rainbow jersey wearer, Poland’s Adrian Teklinski.

Medals will also be contested in the team sprints, with Jack Carlin, Phil Hindes and Joe Truman donning the red, white and blue of the Great Britain Cycling Team.

Carlin and Truman, alongside Ryan Owens, won bronze in Pruszkow last weekend, with two-time Olympic champion Hindes brought in for the Manchester leg.

But having won the title in Poland, Dutch trio Harrie Lavreysen, Nils Van’t Hoenderdaal and Jeffrey Hoogland will go for gold once more, though they’ll likely have a battle on their hands from the French team.

In the women’s event, it’s Katy Marchant and Sophie Capewell selected to fly the flag for Great Britain, with three-time team sprint world champion Kristina Vogel makes her first appearance of the weekend for Germany, alongside Miriam Welte, having won gold last weekend.

Elsewhere, the qualification heats and first round of the men’s team pursuit get underway, with British representation aplenty taking to the Manchester boards.

Three-time team pursuit Olympic champion Ed Clancy will return to track cycling for the first time since the Rio Olympics alongside Steven Burke, Ollie Wood and Kian Emadi, while 100% Me will be represented by Ethan Hayter, Matthew Bostock, Joe Holt and Walls.

“It’s great to have Ed back – he’s champing at the bit at the moment,” said Burke, himself a two-time Olympic gold medallist.

“He took a year out doing more on the road and he’s refreshed and ready to come back into things.

“He’s won so much in the team pursuit that it’s great to have him back – he’s our captain as well.”

Tickets are still available for selected sessions of the Manchester Track World Cup – for more information click here