British Paralympic and world champions will roll out for the national track championships which begin at the National Cycle Centre, Manchester, today.
Mark Colborne, who won gold in the C1 3km pursuit with a world record in London this summer, days after opening Parlaympics GB’s medal account with a silver in the C1-3 1km time trial, will take part in a three-discipline event, with what is billed as a unique scoring system and cycling’s equivalent of a golf handicap.
The para-cyclists will contest a standing time trial, a 200m ‘flying’ time trial (begun from a rolling start), and a pursuit. As well as competing against rivals on the track, their times will be measured against world records and points awarded for their proximity to them.
Colbourne isn’t the only household name competing in this year’s national championships. Many of his Olympic and Paralympic colleagues may be resting after their efforts this summer, but British fans will be given the first chance to see newly crowned world champions, Emily Barker and Lucy Garner, in action for the first time since their success last week in Limburg.
Barker was the Brit to pull on the rainbow jersey last week with victory in the junior women’s time trial and will launch her bid for a national team pursuit title with Emily Kay and Amy Roberts on Saturday.
She will compete against her world road race teammate, Lucy Garner, who added a second junior women’s road title to her palmares after being led out be Barker in a bunch sprint in Limburg. Garner will team up with Corinne Hall and Harriet Owen.
Garner will also race in what could be the strongest pairing to compete in the women’s team sprint. She will pair up with Becky James, national women’s sprint champion and a recent selection for the opening round of the 2012/13 UCI Track World Cup in Cali, Columbia from October 11 to 13.
To defend her individual title, James must see off a challenge from close to home: that of her sister, Rachel. She will also face competition from national junior sprint champion, Danielle Khan, and runner up, Jessica Crampton.
The men’s events will see Sam Harrison, world junior omnium champion in 2011, attempt to lift the British pursuit title after finishing to Olympic gold medalist, Steven Burke, last year.
Jon Dibben took bronze behind Burke and Harrison last year and today will bid for a medal of a different colour in the pursuit, as well as contesting the points, scratch, team pursuit and madison titles.
Craig McLean, pilot to Paralympic gold medalist, Anthony Kappes in the men’s individual sprint, will return to able-bodied action in the men’s sprint, where he will face young guns John Paul and Kian Emadi, as well as last year’s silver medalist, David Daniell.
The British national track championships start today at 5pm. Tickets for Wednesday and Thursday are free. Tickets for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday can be bought through Ticketmaster. British Cycling members can obtain a one-third discount. Spectators with wheelchairs should call 0844 847 1655 for tickets.