Jason Kenny and Laura Trott are among a host of world-class talent set to compete at the 2015 British Cycling National Track Championships, taking place at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester from 25-27 September.
Each year the championships offer a unique opportunity for the public to see their world and Olympic championship heroes compete on home soil, all vying for the coveted British champions jerseys, while giving Britain’s up and coming riders a chance to stand shoulder to shoulder with the sport’s biggest names.
Callum Skinner was set to defend the four British titles he won 12 months ago before he was forced to withdraw at the last minute due to illness. The British Cycling Olympic Podium Programme rider won the sprint, keirin, kilometre time trial and team sprint (with Philip Hindes and Jason Kenny) in 2014.
However Skinner may still defend his team sprint title with Kenny, Hindes and Matt Crampton comprising the North West Region team.
Competition will be fierce in the individual events with the on-form Lewis Oliva and Jason Kenny both on the start list, along with Matt Crampton, Philip Hindes, Pete Mitchell and Matt Rotherham.
Jess Varnish matched Skinner’s dominance in the women’s sprint competition a year ago, taking four titles including the team sprint with Danni Khan. The 24-year-old Olympic Podium Programme rider from Bromsgrove will have her work cut out with fellow performance pathway rider Katy Marchant in fine form after a string of successes through the summer’s UCI C1 track events.
Varnish will also face the James sisters Rachel and Becky, the latter regaining form after a long injury-induced layoff, as well as fellow Olympic Podium Programme rider Vicky Williamson.
The team sprint combinations are interesting, with Varnish and Marchant paired as one of four strong North West Region teams. Laura Trott will ride with multiple BMX and former team sprint world champion Shanaze Reade while Becky James will ride with Williamson.
Edinburgh RC’s Eleanor Richardson will be paired with double Commonwealth Games champion Helen Scott (riding as the North West Region D) while another interesting pairing will be the talented Capewell sisters, Debbie and Sophie, riding for the West Midlands Region.
Reigning British and European individual pursuit champion Andy Tennant will face upward pressure from rising stars like 2014 British junior champion (and under-23 European team pursuit champion) Matt Gibson if he is to retain his title.
Ed Clancy is ruled out through injury, Sir Bradley Wiggins has been forced to withdraw through illness and Steve Burke is riding the one-kilometre time trial.
With Burke, Tennant et al eschewing the team pursuit, 100%ME look likely to retain their title in the four-man event, albeit with the different line-up. Back in 2014 it was Germain Burton, Chris Latham, Chris Lawless and Ollie Wood who took the title. This time Lawless will ride the individual events for Team Wiggins while 100%ME will pick from a six-man squad also including Jake Kelly, Matt Gibson and Mark Stewart.
Stewart will also defend his points race title while Wood will also look to retain the scratch race jersey he took last year.
Women’s endurance sees a plethora of talent for 2015, with Laura Trott returning to defend her scratch race title. Trott also claimed the team pursuit jersey in 2014 but won’t contest it this time around, the Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International squad of Katie Archibald, Ciara Horne, Claire Rose, Joanna Rowsell Shand and Dame Sarah Storey looking like a dizzying proposition.
Archibald took individual pursuit glory a year ago and is likely to be pushed hard by Trott and her Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International teammates if she is to retain it, while Storey was the victor in the points race.
The championships also sees a packed para-cycling programme, with the world’s best returning from a successful season of international competition on road and track.
B tandem sprint and kilometre time trial world champion Sophie Thornhill is set to wow the crowds, piloted by Helen Scott. Neil Fachie, who also took a world championship double in Apeldoorn earlier in the year (with Pete Mitchell), will ride with the ultra-experienced Craig McLean.
Fresh from world cup victory on the road come Steve Bate (piloted by Adam Duggleby) and Lora Turnham (with Corrine Hall), both pairings looking odds-on to dominate the B tandem endurance events.
The C1-C5 classes are peppered with para-cycling stars, with Paralympians Jody Cundy, Darren Kenny and Rik Waddon joined by Great Britain Cycling Team’s Jon Gildea and Louis Rolfe.
The National Cycling Centre in Manchester needs no introduction. In its 21-year history it has become a truly iconic venue. Its 250-metre Siberian pine track has staged Chris Boardman’s 1996 and 2000 hour record attempts, numerous national championships, world cups, world championships and is home turf for the Great Britain Cycling Team, the building itself home to British Cycling.
How to follow the racing
- Watch live! Tickets are still available via Ticketmaster
- Following our live blog throughout the three days of competition
- Reports, results, images and reaction will appear on the British Cycling website
- Follow @BritishCycling on Twitter for regular updates