1 February 2013 |
The GB Team's riders had their first opportunity to test out the Louisville World Championship circuit on Thursday afternoon when the course on the banks of the Ohio river opened for official practice.
The tailor-made circuit promises to offer the whole range of challenges, including sand sections, steps, and a bridge. The consensus is that this is a worthy championship course, with excellent facilities for the riders, and although the twenty nations represented here is fewer than in recent years, the main contenders are here in force.
Much will depend upon the weather conditions, which have been, to say the least, changeable. When the bulk of the British party arrived on schedule on Monday evening they were greeted with unseasonably warm temperatures, rising to nearly 20C by lunchtime on Tuesday. But since then, the change has been rapid. A massive weather front - christened Magnus here - has swept eastwards, bringing strong winds, torrential rain, and in the early hours of Wednesday morning, a tornado alert which required guests at the GB team hotel to evacuate to the lowest floor and away from windows for 30 minutes until the all clear was given.
A rapid decrease in temperature over the following 24 hours led to daytime highs barely reaching freezing point for the first training session, followed by snow and a low of -8C on Thursday evening. Conditions on race days are expected to be milder after a sub-zero start, but with snow forecast on Saturday and rain on Sunday every race could be different. A possible rise in the level of the Ohio River could also lead to some last minute course changes
Despite the meteorological unpredictability, spirits in the GB camp remain buoyant, with all riders free of illness or injury. The four-strong junior team of Billy Harding, Jake Womersley, Adam King and Jack Ravenscroft will be the first to the line on Saturday morning, when the new GB team colours will be unveiled in competition for the first time. All the championship races can be viewed live on the UCI You Tube channel: www.youtube.com/ucichannel