There are just over three days to go to the start of the 2013 UCI Track Cycling World Championships. As we said in the first part of our preview last week, the first World Championships is always completely unpredictable – so here’s our predicitions of what might happen in the Women’s competition.

trackcycling’s coverage of the 2013 World Track Championships is supported by V-Sprint

 wcbanner2013-small
trackcycling’s coverage of the 2013 World Track Championships is supported by V-Sprint

Individual Pursuit

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The Women’s Individual Pursuit is an event in transition. Only one of the medalists from the last four years will be in Minsk with young Elinor Barker likely to be Great Britain’s representative. Barker may be in the running for a medal but she’s unlikely to better Wendy Houvenaghel who took Silver in three of the last four World Championships. World Cup winner Katarzyna Pawlowska should also be in the hunt for the medals, but we think last year’s Bronze medallist Ashlee Ankudinoff of Australia is most likely to take the top spot on the podium

Team Pursuit

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This will be the last time that the Women’s Team Pursuit will be run over 3km with a three rider team before it moves to the 4km, four rider format that the Men have traditionally ridden.

Like the Men’s event, the Women’s Team Pursuit has become a five team race with Australia, Canada, the USA and New Zealand running the Great Britain trio closer than their string of titles might suggest. This time round neither New Zealand nor the USA will field a team and the Canadians will be without Tara Whitten. With Elinor Barker stepping in to the squad at the World Cup in Glasgow to win Gold with Dani King and Laura Trott, a Great Britain vs Australia final is the bookies’ favourite – despite Italy having taken the World Cup title. But given how quickly Jasmin Glaesser and Gillian Carelton got the hang of the event, you wouldn’t bet against Laura Brown keeping Canada in contention.

Scratch

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The Scratch Race is a bit of a lottery, but reigning World Champion Katarzyna Pawłowska will be there or thereabouts as will Australia’s Melissa Hoskins and Sarah Hammer of the USA. But don’t rule out Great Britain’s Dani King.

Points

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Again King is a good outside bet in the Points Race with another Polish rider – World Cup winner Małgorzata Wojtyra probably a slim favourite. There’s also local interest with a strong squad from Belarus – although not 2011 World Champion Tatsiana Sharakova. Jarmila Machacova of the Czech Republic is another one to watch.

Omnium

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It would take a brave man to bet against World and Olympic Omnium Champion Laura Trott of Great Britian– and the absence of Canada’s Tara Whitten, on paper, might seem to make her job easier. In the Omnium, though, having two strong rivals taking points off each other can work to your advantage and might allow Hammer to edge ahead. Our outside bet would be Pawłowska.

Sprint

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Whether from the mainland or from the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong, our prediction is that a Chinese rider will take the Sprint competition. With Australian legend Anna Meares taking a well earned post-Olympics rest, Great Britain’s Victoria Pendleton retired and local hero Belarus’ Olga Panarina plastered all over the city, but not in the squad, we think the battle will be between China’s Shuang Guo and Hong Kong’s Wai Sze Lee – winner of the World Cup Series. Great Britain’s Rebecca James took third place in the World Cup and both her and Meares’ long time Team Sprint partner Kaarle McCulloch have a shot at a medal.

Keirin

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With fewer specialists than in the Men’s competition, the favourites for the Keirin are the same as for the Sprint – Lee – who also took the World Cup Keirin title, Guo and James. Germany’s Kristina Vogel and Lithuania’s Simona Krupeckaité will offer more of a challenge here than in the Sprint competition and both Guo’s Chinese team mate Jinjie Gong and Cuba’s Lisandra Guerra have been in good form over the winter.

500m Time Trial

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Guerra’s more likely to take the honours in the 500m Time Trial where, once again, Guo, James and Krupeckaité will be in the hunt along with our favourite Miriam Welte of Germany.

Team Sprint

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A persistent back injury to Jess Varnish means that Great Britain’s Becky James will team up Victoria Williamson and a well earned post-Olympics rest for Anne Meares means that her long time partner in the Australian pair Kaarle McCulloch will ride with Stephanie Morton. But it’s the World and Olympic Champions Germany – Miriam Welte and Kristina Vogel – who will go in to the competition as clear favourites. Keep an eye on China, though, who are always there or thereabouts with Shuang Guo and Jinjie Gong in fine form at the recent Apeldoorn Grand Prix. 

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trackcycling’s coverage of the 2013 World Track Championships is supported by V-Sprint

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