Perhaps unsurprisingly, splitting the World Cup season into two ‘regional’ halves – with the European rounds in Glasgow and Apeldoorn in November and the Americas in Cali and Los Angeles in February, some of the teams to split their World Championship qualification efforts to one region or the other. Perhaps more surprisingly, few of the teams have sent the same squad to both rounds of either double-header – raising questions about the new format.
Choosing to focus on the opening rounds as, for example, Great Britain and the Canadian Men’s Team Pursuit squad did – means that the points are in the bag. Great Britain are only sending a single male athlete – and only to the LA round (Christopher Latham) – although they are sending a women’s Team Pursuit squad to Cali, including the ‘find’ of 2016, Neah Evans as well as Emily Kay, Emily Nelson and Manon Lloyd.
Their strongest opposition in the Women’s Team Pursuit is likely to come from Canada’s Laura Brown, Kinley Gibson, Stephanie Roorda and Ariane Bonhomme and Australia’s Ashlee Ankudinoff, Georgia Baker, Amy Cure, Alexandra Manly and Rebecca Wiasak.
France has one of the biggest squads in Cali and in the Men’s Team Pursuit with three of the European Championship winning squad – Thomas Denis, Benjamin Thomas, Corentin Ermenault – likely to face strong competition from Denmark, Russia and the Italians, who include World Individual Pursuit Champion Filippo Ganna.
In the Sprint competitions, Czech Tomas Babek, Ukrainian Andrii Vynokurov, the on form Quentin Lafargue and multiple World Champion Francois Pervis from France, Poland’s Kamil Kuczynski and Russia’s Dennis Dmitriev should all be in contention.
In the Women’s Team Sprint Germany’s Kristina Vogel and Miriam Welte, Russia’s Daria Shmeleva and Anastasiia Voinova – riding for trade tem Gazprom – and Spain’s Tania Calco and Helena Casas are the ones to watch.
Local hero Juan Esteban Arango is always a good bet for a podium in the Omnium and a good outside bet in the Madison is Ireland’s Felix English and Mark Downey.