Three days of top-class racing

Six sessions across three, exhilarating days of top-class racing – this weekend’s TISSOT UCI Track World Cup is certainly not one to miss.

And with the world’s top talents now just three days away from descending on the Manchester boards, it’s fair to say excitement is ramping up ahead of Friday afternoon’s curtain raiser.

So, with exciting races aplenty and battles galore to whet the appetite, we’ve taken a look at what you can expect from each session in this, the second World Cup of the season.

Friday afternoon

It’s fair to say the British squad get emphatic support on the home boards, and they won’t have long to wait as the men’s team pursuit team launch their bid for glory.

Gold medallists in the event in the last three Olympic Games, GB certainly have the pedigree and with Ed Clancy back in the fold, the guys will be gunning for success on the Manchester track.

And having missed out on a medal at last month’s European Track Championships in Berlin, there could well be a point to prove – with no better place to right the wrongs.

When it comes to women’s team sprint dominance, Kristina Vogel and Germany proudly share that mantle, victorious in Poland last week in the first World Cup of the season.

That was one of three medals for Vogel, who will be hopeful of maintaining the scintillating form that has seen her become a nine-time world champion.

Friday evening

Ethan Mitchell and Eddie Dawkins showed themselves to be the crème de la crème at Six Day London, but things didn’t go completely the way of their New Zealand compatriots in Poland last week.

So Bradly Knipe, Zac Williams and Jordan Castle will be keen to atone for their 13th-place finish, but they’ll have their work cut out in their bid to usurp Dutch high-flyers Harrie Lavreysen, Nils van ‘t Hoenderdaal and Jeffrey Hoogland.

Meanwhile, Friday night could see the showdown of all showdowns. That’s because Kirsten Wild – triumphant in Poland – and world champion Katie Archibald go head to head in the women’s omnium, with the Brit rested last week in order to get ready for this particular battle.

Both have shown themselves to be in red-hot form, sharing no fewer than 23 European medals as Archibald became a ten-time champion just last month.

This session will also see Neah Evans look to battle back from disappointment in the scratch race, an event she thought she had won gold in last week, only to be relegated to fourth for riding on the blue boards.

Saturday afternoon

On fire at Six Day London and taking the gold medal in Pruszkow, being in form doesn’t quite cut it for Niklas Larsen.

But after starring in the omnium, the challenge will be for the Danish rider to prove it was not a one-trick wonder, particularly with the rest of the field having him in their crosshairs.

Elsewhere the individual sprint journey continues for Philip Hindes, hopeful of converting his double Olympic champion status in the team event to his own racing.

A post-Olympic year is usually a comedown but, having pushed the reset button, it’s all change for the Brit as he looks to end up on the podium once more.

Saturday evening

European champion Sebastien Vigier has yet to show off his European gold medal, but could this be the race where he makes his mark once again?

The Frenchman did the sprint and team sprint double in Berlin, though Matthew Glaetzer has a trick to repeat after standing atop the podium in Poland.

Vogel’s triple success in Poland means she will have titles to defend on all three days, but can anyone stop her in the women’s keirin? Daria Shmeleva tried her best in Poland, with both she and third-place Stephanie Morton having another bite of the cherry.

Always a crowd-pleaser, Great Britain will look to see if they can strike lucky in the women’s Madison.

Emily Nelson and Neah Evans took glory at Six Day London, while Manon Lloyd and Katie Archibald struck gold in the Track World Cup in Glasgow last year – despite the latter suffering a broken wrist following a crash.

Sunday afternoon

The men’s keirin will see a plethora of top stars taking to the track, none more so than Joachim Eilers – a world champion in the race.

He had to settle for second last time out, with Matthijs Buchli taking the honours to open up his season in style.

But while the keirin has been a staple part of the World Cup diet, the men’s kilo makes its season debut – so it’s anyone’s guess as to who will take the early bragging rights.

Dutch star Jeffrey Hoogland will be among those aiming for the top, becoming European champion as recently as last month.

Sunday evening

The question on everyone’s lips has been the same in the men’s Madison – who can stop the dominant Cameron Meyer and Callum Scotson?

But with the Australians missing out in Manchester, there could be an almighty scrap for the upper echelons of this race – one you can’t take your eyes off for a second.

As if that wasn’t enough to round off the weekend, GB will be hoping the home crowd can whip them into a frenzy for the women’s team pursuit.

A European gold-medal rematch could be in the offing against the Italians, all of which could contribute to becoming the overall round winners.

And Sunday evening will see Vogel aim to complete a potential trifecta, so long as she can hold off the charge of Morton.