Great Britain came away from the Copenhagen Track World Cup at the weekend without a medal in the Team Sprint, a result which British Cycling isn’t taking too seriously as they fielded experimental combinations for the GB and Science in Sport squads.
The results have only increased the pressure for the ‘first man’ selection event which takes place at Revolution on Saturday February 23rd. The event will see Jamie Staff, Jason Kenny and Craig MacLean simulate a standing start Team Sprint by riding a two-man 500m time trial. British Cycling management are using the event as a crucial factor in selecting the lead out man for the Team Sprint at the Worlds.
Jamie Staff now seems to be the favourite following an excellent lead out ride in Copenhagen, which placed him fastest first man in qualification.
“My form’s good at the moment, the standing start at Revolution should be exciting!” commented Staff. “In training and prior to Copenhagen I’d been doing some good times on the track. In Copenhagen, I was lucky enough to get two rides and in the first one, did the fastest time out of anyone. The track conditions weren’t great so I can only really compare myself to other riders. Going on that, beating Gregory Bauge shows my form is really good.”
“Now its crunch time for Worlds selection and I’m extremely confident that I’ll be chosen to lead out the team” he added. “My hard work’s been paying off; I beat Jason by three tenths of a second and Craig wasn’t on great form either so for the team, Copenhagen was disappointing.”
Both Jason Kenny and Craig MacLean know they have to raise their game for the selection event at Revolution.
“My form’s not too bad at the moment” commented Kenny. “I’ve been resting since getting back from Copenhagen and trying to get fresh for the weekend’s competition. My form was really good before I went out to Copenhagen but to be honest I was disappointed with my standing lap. But I’m back now and I’m hoping it’ll all come good this weekend.”
MacLean has also been struggling to reach top form recently but hopes experience and the atmosphere at Revolution will help him deliver the goods on Saturday. “My form’s not the best it’s ever been. But given the pressure of World’s selection I can raise my game a little hopefully. Jamie and Jason have been going well so it’ll be tough. I’m not a million miles away though so we’ll just have to see on the night; with the crowd behind me and a number on my back it can make all the difference.”
The selection event will take place at the beginning of the Revolution programme, giving the riders time to recover for the sprint events later in the programme.
Following on from the Copenhagen World Cup there will be added interest in the women’s sprint competition, with Victoria Pendleton facing Dutch Sprinter Willy Kanis. Kanis proved dominant in Copenhagen, beating Pendleton to win both the Sprint and Keirin, so Pendleton will be keen to make amends in front of the home crowd.
“It was a mixed performance for me in Copenhagen,” said Pendleton. “I am pretty happy with my overall speed at the moment, but there is definitely a lot more to come in the next few weeks of training. Revolution will provide an opportunity to continue my preparation.”
Kanis and Pendleton will race in a sprint omnium at Revolution which will also feature Holland’s Yvonne Hijgenaar, French sprinters Sandie Clair and Virginie Cueff and Britain’s Anna Blyth.
Tickets and information for the event on February 23rd can be found on www.cyclingrevolution.com. Alternatively, call 0845 686 0105 or the Manchester Velodrome on 0161 223 2244.