Track World Cup head-to-head battle
We’re almost here, the racing begins tomorrow. So with that in mind, we picked out six head-to-head battles that are sure to get the crowd on their feet this weekend.
Home favourites Katie Archibald and Elinor Barker will be hoping to get the crowd on their feet as they take to the boards in the women’s Madison.
Barker, alongside Emily Nelson, finished second in the event at World Cup I in Pruszkowm last weekend, but will team up with double World champion Archibald after the Scot sat out racing in Poland.
Archibald was one half of the British duo – alongside Manon Lloyd – to win the inaugural women’s Madison at the Track World Cup in Glasgow 12 months ago, a feat made all the more remarkable with Archibald fracturing her wrist on lap 18.
Barker and Archibald’s biggest challenge could come in the form of Belgian pair Lotte Kopecky and Jolien D’Hoore, who won the title in Pruszkow last Friday and beat Barker to world gold in April.
Old foes could meet again in the Manchester men’s Madison with Cameron Meyer and Callum Scotson sitting out of World Cup II.
But in the wings wait the French and the Belgians, silver and bronze medallists respectively behind the Aussies, in Poland.
In Kenny de Ketele and Moreno de Pauw, Belgium’s pedigree on the boards is clear to see but the Frenchmen aren’t far behind, Benjamin Thomas and Morgan Kniesky crowned world champions in Hong Kong earlier this year.
Should they meet in the final, this will be the most remarkable of battles, but who will come out on top?
Women’s team pursuit
The Brits could be in the mix in the women’s team pursuit, fresh from bronze medal success at the opening Track World Cup of the season.
But it was the Italian quartet who climbed to the top step of the podium in Poland, edging out Canada to the gold medal.
The Italians finished second to Great Britain in Glasgow last November, before picking up a silver medal in Cali earlier this year, enough to see them top the overall standings after three events.
But the team pursuit is Great Britain’s one to win – Olympic champions in both 2012 and 2016, there’s only one colour medal they’ll be going for come this weekend.
Men’s team sprint
The Dutch and the French went head-to-head for gold at World Cup I and who’s saying it won’t be the same line-up again on Friday?
Silver and bronze medallists at the World Championships, last weekend it was the Dutch trio of Harrie Lavreysen, Nils Van’t Hoenderdaal and Jeffrey Hoogland who prevailed.
But write off the British at your peril. Bronze medallists in Poland, Jack Carlin, Ryan Owens and Joe Truman were victorious in Glasgow and Apeldoorn last year.
And with a largely British crowd roaring them on, on the boards they call home, who knows what goods they could produce.
Kristina Vogel won the last two keirins of the 2016-17 Track World Cup campaign and refused to let that record slip in Pruszkow, last weekend.
She proved herself to be a class above the field with three titles in Poland, keirin glory coming her way after beating Daria Shmeleva to the line.
But should the two meet again in Manchester, victory could go either way with both riders at the top of their game.
Russia’s Shmeleva is a three-time world champion and four-time European champion, so certainly has the pedigree to push Vogel all the way.
The second keirin of the Track World Cup season will take place at the National Cycling Centre this weekend.
After Matthijs Buchli was victorious last weekend, the Manchester race is expected to be a showdown between the French and the Germans, with either Maximilian Levy or Joachim Eiliers set to be selected for the latter nation – Eilers finishing second behind Buchli in Pruszkow.
For France, it will likely be Sebastien Vigier taking to the boards, in a battle that is sure to go down to the wire.