Final chance for GB riders
We preview the action at the World Track Championships in Australia, the last major competition before the Olympics.
Last Updated: 04/04/12 9:51am
The final major competition before the London Olympic Games, the World Track Championships in Melbourne are more crucial than ever.
With the prospect of world titles and the prestige attached to pulling on the rainbow jersey, the worlds also hold a bigger significance for many riders as potentially the last chance to land a ticket to the Olympics.
With new rules brought in after the Beijing Games which state that only one athlete per nation could take part in an event, national federations have had the unenviable task of settling on riders for each discipline.
It's also the last chance to gain points for Olympic qualification prior to the UCI rankings being closed.
After an encouraging performance in front of their home crowd in London, Team GB will look to continue their momentum as they enter the lion's den of the Hisense Arena.
The powerhouse nations of track cycling all seem keen to use the world championships as a dress rehearsal for London come August.
GB focus - riders to watch
Sir Chris Hoy: A man that needs no introduction, Hoy is currently riding a wave of momentum following two gold medals at the World Cup event in London. The four-time Olympic champion will look to assert his dominance in both the keirin and sprint events, not just against the best riders in the world, but also against compatriot Jason Kenny. This battle mirrors many throughout Team GB with only one rider able to compete in an event from each nation.
Victoria Pendleton: After soaking up the adulation of a home crowd in London as winner of the team sprint event alongside Jess Varnish, Pendleton now sees the tables turned as she looks to add a potential three further rainbow jerseys to her collection. Pendleton must fend off long-standing rival and Australian counterpart Anna Meares, this time against an opposing partisan crowd. Maintaining her strength across three events will be a key test ahead of the London Games.
Geraint Thomas: Despite improving exponentially in his road career as a member of Team Sky, the Welshman has set aside his goals in that discipline to fully commit himself to claiming a second consecutive Olympic gold in the team pursuit event. Beaten into silver by the Aussies last time out in London, the British quartet will look to bounce back in style. At the same time each man is all too aware that six riders are still vying for four spots when the games arrive in August.
Laura Trott: After producing arguably the most thrilling ride in the recent history of the omnium in front of her home crowd during the elimination race, Trott will be looking to continue her progression in the six-round event. Seemingly assured her place in the women's team pursuit line-up, the 19-year-old will look to defend her world title once again in that event before putting together a consistent run at the omnium.
Philip Hindes: Without even so much as a Wikipedia page to his name, could young Philip Hindes be the answer to Great Britain's team sprint problems? Still unable to decide on a line-up and with a number of potential contenders coming and going, Academy graduate Hindes could make a late bid to slot in alongside Hoy and Kenny. Team coaches are hopeful the 19-year-old can produce the explosive pace out of the blocks - with a 17.6 second lead lap the target - to bring GB back into contention for gold.
A mouth-watering prospect for fans of track cycling, key battles up and down the five-day race programme should see a number of intriguing storylines set up prior to the Olympics.
The men's team pursuit has been billed as the 'Ashes of cycling' with Great Britain and Australia but at the top of their game and gunning for success.
Australia took the upper hand at the London World Cup but will not have things all their own way in front of a home crowd.
The championships kick off on Wednesday April 4th with the hotly-anticipated men's team pursuit as well as both team sprint finals. You can follow all the action from Down Under with our live interactive text coverage.
The latest Team GB line-ups plus schedule, courtesy of www.britishcycling.org.uk are:
Team sprint: Philip Hindes, Jason Kenny, Sir Chris Hoy
Sprint: Sir Chris Hoy, Jason Kenny, Matt Crampton, Philip Hindes
Keirin: Matt Crampton, Jason Kenny, Chris Hoy
Team sprint: Victoria Pendleton and Jess Varnish
Keirin: Victoria Pendleton
Sprint: Victoria Pendleton, Jess Varnish
500m tt: Jess Varnish
Team pursuit: Ed Clancy, Pete Kennaugh, Andy Tennant, Geraint Thomas
Scratch race: Ben Swift
Points race: Ben Swift
Kilo: Steven Burke
Omnium: Ed Clancy
Madison: Geraint Thomas and Ben Swift
Individual pursuit: Geraint Thomas
Team pursuit: Jo Rowsell, Laura Trott, Dani King
Omnium: Laura Trott
Scratch race: Dani King
Individual pursuit: Wendy Houvenaghel, Jo Rowsell
Daily schedule for the Championships:
Wednesday 4 April
Men's team pursuit, men's team sprint, women's team sprint, men's scratch 15km.
Thursday 5 April
Women's sprint (up to and including 1/4 finals), women's team pursuit, men's omnium (flying lap, points race, elimination race), men's kilo.
Friday 6 April
Men's sprint (up to and including 1/4 finals), men's omnium (4km individual pursuit, scratch race 15km, kilo) women's sprint, women's omnium (flying lap, points race, elimination race).
Saturday 7 April
Men's individual pursuit, women's keirin, women's omnium (3km individual pursuit, scratch race 10km, 500m TT), men's sprint, men's points race 40km.
Sunday 8 April
Men's keirin, women's individual pursuit, women's 500m TT, men's madison 50km.