Recently on Cyclingnews.com

Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Track World Cup 08-09 Round 3 - CDM

Cali, Colombia, December 11-13, 2008

Goin' back to Cali

The Ukrainians have been consistent
Photo ©: Mitch Clinton
(Click for larger image)

The third round of the UCI Track World Cup heads to the Alcides Nieto Patiño Velodrome in Cali, Colombia, a newly renovated facility which re-opened in 2007. The country last hosted a World Cup in 2002, and this year will see 166 athletes representing 30 different countries descend on the track. In this post-Olympic year, numbers are well under half that of the previous season's World Cup contests.

Because the World Cup has five rounds this year, and due to the first three being scattered around the globe, few riders have participated in all of the rounds. Some of those that did attend the first two have been able to rise to the top of the series standings, giving the leader board a lot of unfamiliar names, many of them from Ukraine.

For example, 20-year-old Lyubov Shulika, a former junior world champion in the sprint, had her previous best performances at the elite level as a member of Ukraine's team pursuit squad. Her best sprint result at the elite level came in Melbourne when she took the gold over German Christian Muche in two races, confirming her ride in Manchester where she got into the finals with the relegation of China's Jinjie Gong, then bested Great Britain's Anna Blyth to take bronze.

Shulika's teammate Vitaliy Shchedov leads the men's individual pursuit standings thanks to a second place to Ed Clancy in Manchester and a third in Melbourne. The 21-year-old has added power to his country's team pursuit over the past two seasons, and his white UCI leader's jersey is a just reward for those efforts. But once countries start fielding their A-teams, he will likely give up that honor given his times have been several seconds off the win.

Another Ukrainian leads the men's kilometre standings, Yevhen Bolibrukh . The young team from Ukraine also leads the men's team pursuit standings, is tied for second in the women's team pursuit, and is second in the men's keirin standings with Andriy Vynokurov.

Other countries have taken advantage of the thinner competition to scoop up the white World Cup jerseys - China's Jinjie Gong leads both the 500m and women's keirin, while Hong Kong's Ho Ting Kwok scored that country's first win in the men's scratch race in Melbourne and is tied with the Netherlands Wim Stroetinga in the standings. Japan leads the team sprint, a Spaniard is in white in the women's points race (Leire Olaberria Dorronsoro) and Germany has the men's Madison lead.

Ho Ting Kwok (Hong Kong) leads the scratch race standings
Photo ©: Shane Goss
(Click for larger image)

Still, even with these anomalies, the British, who have taken a little break from world domination after their crushing performance in the Olympics, lead the nations standings thanks to riders like Lizzie Armistead who won both scratch races so far this season. However, Armistead will not be in Cali to defend her lead. According to Cycling Weekly, only Rob Hayles and Peter Kennaugh will represent Great Britain, taking on the men's mass start endurance events.

The Germans are second in the nations rankings, with Australia and Ukraine in third and fourth.

The Cali World Cup should bring out a new crop of riders from South, Central and North America. We'll see the debut of the Hawk Relay team with Adam Duvendeck and Jimmy Watkins (the USA sprint and keirin champion) taking on the sprint events. Team owner Robin Horwitz said that his newest signing, Sarah Hammer, a two-time world champion in the individual pursuit, will make her debut later in the season, while keirin world champion Jennie Reed is on a break after a tough season.

Tara Whitten will return for the women's pursuit after taking silver in the scratch race and pursuit in Manchester, and will try her hand at the points race as well. Her fellow countrymen Zach Bell will take part in the men's scratch and points races.