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Track World Cup 08-09 Round 5 - CDM

Copenhagen, Denmark, February 13-15, 2009

Keeping an eye on worlds in Copenhagen

By Peter Hymas

Chris Hoy
Photo ©: Rob Evans
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The UCI Track World Cup heads to the Ballerup Super Arena velodrome in Copenhagen, Denmark, this weekend for the fifth round of the series. It's the final world cup event before the track World Championships in Pruszków, Poland in late March. This is the second consecutive year Ballerup has hosted a World Cup; it's also the location for next year's track world titles, and as such thnis weekend's competition becomes a dress rehearsal of sorts for the big event in 2010.

With 293 riders representing 41 different nations converging on Copenhagen, it's a quality field looking to get into full swing of preparations for worlds - this is evidenced by the presence of 14 Beijing Olympic medallists and seven reigning world champions. The most decorated of these is undoubtedly Sir Chris Hoy, Olympic champion in the sprint, keirin and team sprint in addition to being the current sprint and keirin world champion. The Scottish star will be making his 2008-2009 World Cup season debut.

The host nation will see Olympic team pursuit silver medallists Jens-Erik Madsen and Michael Faerk compete in front of a partisan crowd, but it's Great Britain who will be fielding the largest team at a world cup event since October's opening round in Manchester. There will be 23 British riders in Copenhagen, divided into three separate squads: Great Britain, 100% ME and Sky +HD.

"This is our last major test before the UCI Track Cycling World Championships so it has a special place in our preparation but no more or no less," said Great Britain's Track Performance Manager, Heiko Salzwedel. "We won’t, for example, do any special tapering for the Copenhagen World Cup, but I still expect every rider to perform well there."

Salzwedel will be returning to Denmark, where he had been national track coach for several seasons leading up to the Olympics. Now back with the Great Britain squad, he's responsible for the squad that currently holds second place in the overall World Cup team standings, despite only fielding a full team at Manchester. Great Britain's points tally of 133 in Manchester is still the most scored by any team in a single world cup thus far this season, although Germany leads the overall team standings with 262 points, an advantage of 46 over Great Britain and 52 more than Spain, which occupies third place overall.

British riders also lead event competitions, including Elizabeth Armitstead (women's scratch) and Chris Newton (men’s points), who took bronze in the same event at the Olympics. In addition to Hoy, Great Britain will field a deep squad in the men's sprint events (sprint, team sprint and keirin), with Jamie Staff and Jason Kenny riding with Hoy for Sky +HD, while European champion Matt Crampton, Olympic silver medallist Ross Edgar and former junior world champion David Daniel - winner of the kilo at the Manchester World Cup - will ride in Great Britain skinsuits in Copenhagen.

Victoria Pendleton
Photo ©: Greg Chang
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Great Britain will field a mix of experience and youth in the women's sprint events, headed by Olympic and world champion Victoria Pendleton. Joining her will be emerging riders Anna Blyth and Helen Scott, the latter making her World Cup debut in Copenhagen.

Ed Clancy, team pursuit gold medallist and world champion, and Steve Burke, individual pursuit bronze medallist, will also turn out for Great Britain in Danish capital. Clancy won the opening Manchester round's individual pursuit and he'll be testing his fitness once again prior to the world championships. Russia's Valery Kaikov and American Olympian Taylor Phinney will provide strong competition for the British contingent.

Competition in the men's Madison should be fierce - all three steps of the podium in that event at the Olympics will ride in Copenhagen. Gold medallist Walter Fernando Perez of Argentina and silver medallist Antonio Tauler of Spain each lost their respective partners to retirement, but will return with new riders slinging them around. The bronze medal-winning team from Russia, Mikhail Ignatiev and Alexei Markov will also be on hand, while Americans Colby Pierce and Daniel Holloway, fresh off competing in the Copenhagen 6 Day, will put their experience to good use once again at the Ballerup track.

The final round of the world cup will also see several more world champions take the track. The Netherlands' Teun Mulder, reigning 1000m time trial champion, Cuba's Lisandra Guerra Rodriguez, 500m time trial champion, Belarus's Aliaksandr Lisouski, men's scratch world champion and the Netherlands' Eleonora Van Dijk, women's scratch world champion, will all be on hand to analyse their fitness prior to next month's world championships.