The 2011 UCI Track Cycling World Championships starts in about 10 hours in The Netherlands. With 41 countries from around the world competing, this will be the first real glimpse of who might dominate the 2012 Olympic track cycling events. Of course I’ll be scouring the interwebz for a live feed like a junky on Christmas but if I don’t find one, I’ll just have to post videos and/or results as they become available. Either way, stay tuned.
There are lots of World Championship previews already available on the internet and if you are a total track geek like me, then you’ve already read them all. But if you want one more person’s (probably highly inaccurate) opinion then read on…
Here are my predictions for the Day 1 (of 5) events tomorrow:
Women’s 500m TT » Anna Meares (Australia) has decided not to defend her World Champion title so that she can focus more on other competitions. World Record holder Simona Krupeckaite (Lithuania) has also backed down. It really is anyone’s game at this point but Sandie Clair (France) put down a stellar time to take the silver behind Anna Meares at the Melbourne World Cup earlier in the season — the only time the 500m TT has been run this season… thanks, UCI!
Men’s Team Pursuit » Australia’s the team to beat! Even with Cameron Meyer off the team, I think they’re unstoppable — especially with that Jack Bobridge guy. For some reason, Great Britain is not sending in their strongest Pursuit team (Gerraint Thomas and Bradley Wiggins are staying home) so Australia’s stiffest competition will probably come from New Zealand, Russia or Spain. Still, the Aussies should have no problem earning a new lease one their World Champion stripes. The only question is — will they break the World Record?
Women’s Points Race » Three opponents that defending World Champion Tara Whitten (Canada) will have to look out for: Marianne Vos (Netherlands), current Olympic Champion in the Points Race with the home court advantage; Sarah Hammer (USA) though I’m not sure she’ll be competing in the Points Race and Jarmila Machacova (Czech) who has been killing it in the Omnium Points Races during the World Cup series. Still, I’ve been watching Whitten race all season and I think she might be able to defend her title.
Men’s Scratch Race » Cameron Meyer (Australia) has just announced that he will be competing in the Scratch Race and I’m sure that everyone is shaking in their chamois at the sound of that. But I think that the sprinter-turned-road-racer Theo Bos (Netherlands) is going to take this one in a thrilling return to track racing. Defending World Champion Alex Rasmussen (Denmark) doesn’t stand a chance unless “The Boss” unwittingly forgets that he’s on a fixed gear bike!
Men’s Team Sprint » This will be the highlight of the night. First we have the current World Champion powerhaus German team whose cannon-like quads will take them around the velodrome faster than your internet connection will load this page — BUT — I heard they are starting without the star quarterback Robert Forstemann (he’s busy becoming a police officer or something). Then there’s the French team who’ve been destroying it all season in the World Cup series — BUT — Gregory Bauge has recently returned from an injury and might not be in tip-top form. Finally we have the wild card British bunch who’ve not yet topped their performance at the 2008 Olympics — BUT — the Brits are usually pretty hit-or-miss these days and you can never tell anymore whether they’ve got that ace hidden up the sleeve or not. That said, my money is on France.