London provides perfect stage for TISSOT UCI Track World Cup
Excitement is building with the 2018 TISSOT UCI Track Cycling World Cup rolling into London between 14 and 16 December.
It will be the third time the Lee Valley VeloPark has played host after the series cut the ribbon on the venue in style in February 2012 before returning in December 2014.
The capital has provided an electrifying stage for the world’s premier track series and a string of home successes have helped whip up feverish atmospheres.
With the four-year wait soon to come to an end, here’s a look back at some of the memorable moments of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in London.
Make mine a treble
Three gold medals on the opening night of UCI Track Cycling World Cup made it a dream start for the Lee Valley VeloPark as one of the sport’s most storied cauldrons.
Team sprinters Victoria Pendleton and Jess Varnish were in searing form from qualifying as Varnish posted a personal best lap of under 14 secs for the first time in her career.
Repeating their feats of 2010 when they claimed sprint goal in Colombia, they produced a rousing 32.754 secs race that smashed the world record and had the crowd on their feet.
Laura Kenny, Dani King and Jo Rowsell kept them off their seats with gold in the team pursuit, outlasting a world record holding Australian outfit.
After Wendy Houvenaghel helped them qualify smoothly, King stepped in and 3min 18.148 secs shaved almost 1.5 secs off their best-ever effort.
With Ross Edgar, Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny bagging sprint bronze later in the night, the medal pattern had been set with a home Olympics a matter of months away.
Scotsman Chris Hoy flew to double gold on the super Saturday that followed – then dubbed “possibly the noisiest track cycling meeting in history.”
The capacity 6,000 crowd held its breath as Hoy timed his attack late in the keirin, but he clocked his fastest-ever speed down the back straight and claimed his 34th World Cup gold.
Hoy punched the air in exultation, knowing he’d pushed past two formidable competitors in Germany’s Rene Enders and French rider Mickael Bourgain.
Max Levy was another of Hoy’s scalps a day later, outwitting the German to claim sprint glory and a 52nd World Cup medal in the process.
With Rowsell having completed her stunning week with individual pursuit gold, the British crowd left with the 2011-12 series having come to a resounding crescendo.
By the time the UCI Track Cycling World Cup returned to London in 2014, Britain was firmly gripped with cycling fever and hopes were high for further homegrown triumphs.
And the host nation wouldn’t be disappointed, with four golds to their name by the weekend was out, their unparalleled dominance of team pursuit continuing unabated.
The women’s quartet, led by Kenny and Rowsell, had been bolstered by new blood in Elinor Barker and Katie Archibald, as well as drafting 25-year-old Ciara Horne into the fold.
With any unbeaten record comes pressure and that team hadn’t been beaten since January 2011.
With Horne on the boards, they were without sight of the USA in their semi-final and had gained a 9 sec gap on the Americans in qualifying.
The winning margin was over 2 secs by the end with Australia put to the sword in the final.
The men’s pursuit team didn’t let up either, Steven Burke, Mark Christian, Owain Doull and Andy Tennant claiming goal before Christian and Doull rode to Madison glory.
See the stars of British Cycling #BackToTheTrack at London’s Lee Valley VeloPark at the 2018 TISSOT UCI Track Cycling World Cup series between December 14 and 16. For tickets and more information click here