The 2011 World Track Championships start on the 23rd of March in Apeldoorn in the Netherlands. In the first of our two part preview we look at the men’s events that will be spread over the 5 days of competition – starting with the Team Pursuit and ending with the Madison.

trackcycling’s coverage of the World Track Championships is supported by SL Carbons – The Fabric of Your Success
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trackcycling’s coverage of the World Track Championships is supported by SL Carbons – The Fabric of Your Success

Wednesday 23rd March

Men’s Team Pursuit
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The track in Apeldoorn has a reputation for not being the quickest in the world, which is a shame. The Great Britain and Australian Team Pursuit squads are on fire – although the full strength showdown that everyone’s waiting for is at least a year away. While GB rolled out their big guns for the final World Cup round in Manchester – with Bradley Wiggins and Geraint Thomas joining Steven Burke and Ed Clancy – the Australians sent an inexperienced quartet to face them and the British dominated.

With the road season now well under way, Wiggins and Thomas are on duty with the Sky road team, so Andy Tennant, Pete Kennaugh and Sam Harrison will join Burke and Clancy in Apeldoorn. The Australians, by contrast, are sending Individual Pursuit World Record holder Jack Bobridge with the rest of the 2010 World Champion squad – Rohan Dennis, Leigh Howard, and Cameron Meyer. Great Britain, New Zealand, World Cup winners Spain and Heiko Salzwedel’s Russia might all be reasonable bets for a medal, but it’s hard to see the Gold going anywhere other than Australia.

World Record : 3m 53.314s
Great Britain (Ed Clancy, Geraint Thomas, Bradley Wiggins, Paul Manning)
17 August 2008 Beijing Olympic Games

World Champions : Australia
(Jack Bobridge, Rohan Dennis, Michael Hepburn, Cameron Meyer)
Olympic Champions : Great Britain
(Ed Clancy, Paul Manning, Geraint Thomas, Bradley Wiggins)
2010-11 World Cup Winners : Spain

Men’s 15km Scratch

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The Scratch is always a difficult one to call. The Australians have several options with Michael Hepburn or Luke Durbridge the most likely option – with Kennaugh or Harrison likely to provide the British opposition.

Last year’s winner, Alex Rasmussen of Denmark and World Cup series winner Morgan Kneisky of France, among others, will be in with a shout of the title.

What you won’t see – in this or the other bunch races – is the ‘virtual Spinacci’ riding style with the arms resting loosely on the top of the bars.

Australia’s Cameron Meyer had bars specifically made by 3T to enable it and Rasmussen won the Scratch race using it – but it was promptly banned by the powers that be. The UCI doesn’t get a lot of support when it comes to rule changes, but we’re 100% with them on this one.

World Champion : Alex Rasmussen Denmark
2010-11 World Cup Winner :
Morgan Kneisky France

Men’s Team Sprint
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The Men’s Team Sprint which, over the last few years, has become a three way fight between Olympic Champions Great Britain, World Champions Germany and France. Australia – long the kings of this event – are fighting back, too and took 4th place in the recent World Cup round in Manchester, riding as Jayco. They lost out in the Bronze medal ride to the GB trio – riding on that occasion as Sky Track Cycling.

That result partly reflects the problems Great Britain have had finding the optimum line-up following Jamie Staff’s retirement, but it also reflects the strength of the Germans – who took Silver in Manchester despite splitting their World Championship winning squad across two teams – and the French, whose experienced trio of Bauge, Sireau and D’Almeida, took the Gold in Manchester and the World Cup series crown.

The Germans ran them close, too, and we’re expecting the two to go head to head again in the final in Apeldoorn.

World Record : 42.95 Great Britain (Jamie Staff, Jason Kenny, Chris Hoy)
15 August 2008 Beijing Olympic Games
World Champions : Germany
(Robert Förstemann, Maximilian Levy, Stefan Nimke)
Olympic Champions : Great Britain (Chris Hoy, Jason Kenny, Jamie Staff)
2010-11 World Cup Winners : France

Thursday 24th March
Men’s Individual Pursuit
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Expect to see more green and gold on the podium on Day 2 with the Australians still taking the Individual Pursuit very seriously – despite its absence from the Olympic programme for next year. Although the new World Record Jack Bobridge set at the Australian National Championships (rightly) made all the headlines – finally breaking Chris Boardman’s 15 year old record – don’t overlook Leigh Howard, who set the recorded the third fastest time ever at the same event or Rohan Dennis who took the Gold in Manchester and the World Cup series (albeit with only one of the four World Cup rounds featuring the event).

What we do know for sure is that we won’t hear that hideous Americanism ‘threepeat’, with Taylor Phinney not defending the titles he won in 2009 and 2010.

Men’s 4000m Individual Pursuit Qualifying
World Record :
4m 10.534s Jack Bobridge Australia
2 February 2011 Sydney, Australia
World Champion : Taylor Phinney USA
Olympic Champion : Bradley Wiggins Great Britain
2010-11 World Cup Winner : Rohan Dennis Australia

Friday 25th March
Men’s Omnium Round – Flying Lap, Points Race, Elimination
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With the new Olympic format Men’s Omnium increasingly important, reigning World Champion Ed Clancy is almost certain to defend his title – especially with the two day rest following the Team Pursuit – but team mate Sam Harrison, a World Cup Gold medallist in the event this year already – will be an able substitute, if required.

World Cup Series winner Zachary Bell of Canada will also be a contender for the Gold medal, as will Manchester World Cup winner Shane Archbold of New Zealand, Eloy Teruel of Spain, Michael Freiberg of Australia and Juan Esteban Arango of Colombia.

The competition starts with the Flying Lap, the Points Race and the Elimination race with the medals will be awarded tomorrow – following the Pursuit, Scratch and Time Trial.

World Champion : Ed Clancy Great Britain
2010-11 World Cup Winner : Zachary Bell Canada

Men’s Sprint
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The Men’s Sprint, which kicks off on Wednesday, concludes on Thursday and after a mixed season so far, Sir Chris Hoy will be looking for a return to form. Unceremoniously dumped out of the competition in the first round by Ireland’s Felix English at the European Championships (an Olympic qualifying round), finishing second to World Cup leader Kevin Sireau of France in Cali and third behind Sireau and team mate Jason Kenny won’t have pleased the big Scot, but the big occasion does have a habit of bringing the best out of him.

On current form, though, it’s hard to see past the still young but now vastly experienced Sireau.

World Record : 9.572 Kevin Sireau France
World Champion : Gregory Bauge
France
Olympic Champion : Chris Hoy Great Britain

2010-11 World Cup Winner :
Kevin Sireau France

Men’s 40km Points Race

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Like the Scratch, the Points Race is traditionally a hard race to call but in Pruszkow in 2009 it was won – by a couple of points in 24 – by a young Australian called Cameron Meyer. In 2010, Meyer completely dominated the race, taking two laps on most of the field and winning by 37 points – 3 more than the Silver medallist Peter Schep of the Netherlands managed to rack up, despite also having lapped the field once.

Having already won the Tour Down Under this year, Meyer looks another sold bet for an Australian Gold medal.

If you’re looking for an outside bet, though, World Cup winner Artur Ershov or fellow Russian Alexei Markov might be worth a punt.

Olympic Champion : Joan Llaneras Spain
World Champion : Cameron Meyer
Australia
2010-11 World Cup Winner :  Artur Ershov
Russia

Saturday 26th March
Men’s Keirin
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Sadly, the Men’s Keirin won’t see the duel between pocket rocket World Cup series winner Azizulhasni Awang of Malaysia and World and Olympic Champion Sir Chris Hoy. The splinter injury that Awang suffered in Manchester last month means he won’t be present – although the stitches have been removed and he’s resumed light training. Hoy’s rivals are likely to include team mate Matt Crampton, Max Levy of Germany, Francois Pervis of France, Simon van Velthooven of New Zealand and Jason Niblett and Scott Sunderland of Australia.

Somehow, though, it won’t be the same.

World Champion : Chris Hoy Great Britain
Olympic Champion : Chris Hoy Great Britain
2010-11 World Cup Winner :  Azizulhasni Awang Malaysia

Sunday 27th March
Men’s Kilometre Time Trial
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Sunday sees the men’s programme closed out by two more great events that the Olympics forgot. First of them, the explosive Kilometre time trial.

Last year’s World Champion Teun Mulder of the Netherlands and World Cup Winner Francois Pervis of France will be among the favourites again.

World Champion : Teun Mulder Netherlands
2010-11 Word Cup Winner : Francois Pervis
France

Men’s 50km Madisonwc4_20100327_161651
Traditionally, the reigning Madison champions are marked men and are watched like hawks in following years.

Nobody seems to have told Cameron Meyer and team mate Leigh Howard who managed to take the World Cup Madison title on top of their World Championship jerseys.

The fact that, as a non-Olympic event, the Madison had only one counting round in the World Cup helped, but Meyer and Howard have to go in to the Worlds as firm favourites.

World Champions : Leigh Howard & Cameron Meyer Australia
Olympic Champions : Juan Esteban Curuchet & Walter Fernando Perez
Argentina
2010-11 World Cup Winners : Leigh Howard & Cameron Meyer
Australia

trackcycling’s coverage of the World Track Championships is supported by SL Carbons – The Fabric of Your Success

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