We’ve covered the ‘big’ nations in track cycling in our other previews, but who else should we be looking for? we take a trip around the world in 80 riders – or thereabouts.
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With Asia on the rise, world class performances from Central and Eastern European nationas are now well established and Belarus has a couple of Women worth watching out for. Olga Panarina is capable of podium places in all three sprint disciplines while Tatyana Sharakova will figure in the Women’s bunch races and the Omnium. Jarmila Machacova from the Czech Republic is also capable of a medal in the Women’s endurance events for the Czech Republic as are Ausrine Trebaite of Lithuania, Evgeniya Romanyuta of Rusvelo,
Viktoria Baranova of Russia is an outside bet for a Sprint medal, but multiple World Champion Simona Krupeckaite of Lithuania would be a safer place to put your money. Don’t rule out Lyubov Shulika of the Ukraine either…
The Russian men are strong, too. The Moscow Track Team Team Sprint Squad will be up there, but a medal for Sergey Borisov, Denis Dmitriev and Sergey Kucherov may be asking a bit much, but the Rusvelo Team Pursuit Squad of Evgeny and Ivan Kovalev, Alexei Markov and Vikotr Manakov – coached by the well traveled Heiko Salzwedel – will be up there. So will the Ukraine – who will select from Yuriy Agarkov, Oleksandr Lobov, Maksym Polischuk, Vitally Popkov and Andrei Vynokurov.
The Asian challenge comes largely from China – Lei and Miao Zhang in the Men’s Sprint and Jinjie Gong and Shuang Guo in the Women’s Sprint. But watch for Hong Kong endurance riders Ho Ting Kwok and Wai Sze Lee and the rapibly improving Koreans – especially Ho Sung Cho. The Malaysians will also light up the Sprint competition with everyone’s favourite – the Pocket Rocket Man – Azizulhasni Awang and Josiah Ng – who beat him in last weekend’s Asian Track Champs. Fatehah Mustapa is quite capable of making the Women’s Keirin Final, too.
On to the Americas and Canada has an Men’s Omnium Medal prospect in Zach Bell and a multiple Women’s Omnium World Champion in Tara Whitten. Monique Sullivan’s no slouch in the Sprints, either. The USA has a World Class Women’s Team Pursuit Sqaud – led by Sarah Hammer, who’s another favourite for the Omnium Competition.
Colombia and Venezuela also have World Cup Omnium winners – Juan Esteban Arango in the Men’s Omnium for Colombia and Daniela Larreal in the Women’s for Venezuela. And in the Carribean we have two Cuban Women’s World Champions in the shape of endurance rider Yumari Gonzalez and 500m Time Trial specialist Lisandra Guerra and a Trinidadian who – on his day – is capable of making the Men’s Keirin Final – Philips Nijsane.
Elsewhere in Europe, Christos Volikakis of Greece is capable of a Men’s Keirin medal and Martyn Irvine of Italy is knocking on the door in the Men’s Omium and Turkey’s Recep Ünalan may surprise a few people – although Italy’s Elia Viviani is a more likely medalist in that event.