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Teams arrive in Australia for World Cup track
There's a week to go but already Sydney's Olympic Dunc Gray veledrome is seeing some action in the lead-up to the Sydney round of the 2002 UCI World Cup, to be held from May 10-12.
Six of the eight members of the Great Britain flew in early to train on the track before the event, including 2000 Olympic and world championship silver medallist, Chris Hoy and Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games sprinter Alwyn McMath.
Meanwhile, the 15-strong Greek contingent has been in Sydney since April 24, to take advantage of the world class facilities at the track in suburban Bankstown.
Sixteen countries will contest the all-important round, namely Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, South Africa, and the USA.
The New Zealand team, one of the favourites for the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester later in the year, and the South African team of four riders, are both expected to arrive in Sydney on Monday.
Bronze medallist in Kuala Lumpur in 1998, Canadian sprinter, Lori-Ann Muenzer, is due to arrive during the weekend and five of the best American track cyclists will depart for Australia on Sunday, aiming to arrive in time to get in two days of training.
Tanya Lindenmuth of Trexlertown, Pa, will represent the United States for the seventh time at a world cup.
Lindenmuth, a 2000 Olympian and three-time national champion, recently was fourth in the women's match sprint at April's Track World Cup in Monterrey, Mexico.
Californian rider Erin Mirabella is also a 2000 Olympian and two-time national champion, as well as a past US National Team member. She got off to a solid start this season with impressive results from the April's Track World Cup.
In Mexico, she captured a gold medal in the women's 10km scratch race, silver in the 3km individual pursuit and a fourth-place finish in the points race.
Tammy Thomas will represent the US delegation in the women's sprint event and keirin. Thomas, a 2001 world championship silver medallist, kicked her international season off in Mexico as well.
The Colorado Springs US Olympic Resident Athlete brought home a bronze medal in the women's match sprint from the first World Cup.
Rounding out the American women's squad is Sarah Hammer from Redondo Beach, California. The 18-year old, a junior national road cycling champion, was a silver medalist in the 2km individual pursuit at the 2001 Junior World Track Cycling Championships.
Jame Carney of Colorado will contest the points race, scratch race and keirin. Carney, a two-time Olympian and 18-time national champion, won the World Cup points race overall title in 2001. The 33 year-old started the 2002 World Cup season favorably with a bronze medal in the 15k scratch race in Mexico last month.
The World Cup event will provide Commonwealth Games nations a vital testing arena to gauge their form against the riders they will meet in Manchester.
Australia claimed eleven medals at the last Games in the nine track cycling events contested - including six gold. It also claimed three of the four gold medals on offer in the road cycling. The British, New Zealand, Canadian and South African teams are all hoping to call a halt to the Australian dominance when they meet in Manchester.
However the French are expected to prove a major force in next weekend's World Cup. Their team, arriving in Sydney on May 6, includes Olympic team sprint gold medallist and four-time kilometre time trial world champion and record holder, Arnaud Tournant, is expected to be a major force.
Belgian, Matthew Gilmore, who along with Etienne De Wild claimed the Olympic silver medal in the Madison behind Australians Scott McGrory and Brett Aitken, will fly into Sydney with team mate Iljo Keisse on Tuesday.