Event: 2013 UCI Track Cycling World Championships
Location: Minsk Arena, Belarus
Date: 20 - 24 February 2013
Words: Simon Powers
Images: Luke Webber
The stage is set for the 2013 track worlds which will be held at the Minsk Arena in Belarus from the 20-24 February. The championships will be Great Britain’s first major track outing since the Olympic Games in London last summer in which Great Britain claimed seven out of ten gold medals on offer.
It will see a new more youthful breed of British riders all keen to show future panels of selectors that they have what it takes to fill the shoes of the stalwart of British track talent that has dominated on the boards for so long.
In a recent interview with British Cycling, performance director Sir Dave Brailsford described these world championships as “the first step toward Rio 2016” and further commented that the fresh line-up in Minsk will display “a changing of the guard within the team”.
The team pursuit is usually the backbone of a track endurance squad and the men’s line-up for Minsk is no exception. Joining veterans Andy Tennant, Steven Burke and Ed Clancy are British Cycling Academy riders Sam Harrison and Jon Dibben. For Harrison, this will be his second senior world championships, previously having been a part of the bronze medal winning team pursuit team in Apeldoorn, Holland at the 2011 worlds. Harrison’s last outing as part of the Great Britain team pursuit team ended abruptly in a crash so the Welshman will be keen to right the wrongs of the Glasgow round of the track world cup last November. The intra-team competition has stepped up considerably and since Ed Clancy’s move back to the event from his brief interlude in the team sprint domain, the scrap for places has intensified still further.
Jon Dibben (above) is part of the team pursuit line up as well as contesting the omnium
Chris Newton, Men’s Olympic Endurance Coach commented in a recent interview:
“It’s a fight to get into the squad and when you have eight riders fighting for four places for the team pursuit and then fighting for the omnium place it does bode well for the future. Everyone’s on their toes, wanting to go further, faster and move their event on again past the world record that currently stands.”
Jon Dibben will join the line up as man five but will also contest for the rainbow jersey in the men’s omnium starting on 21 February and concluding the following day. The Southampton rider has shown great form in the multi-event discipline and has, like his senior comrade Ed Clancy, shown he can dominate the field in the timed events (Flying lap, individual Pursuit and 1km time trial) but as his campaign at the recent track world cup in Glasgow still highlighted, events such as the points race have still served to hold the 19 yr old rider back in the overall standings. The recent appointment of Chris Newton, who is himself is a former Points Race World Champion in 2002 in Denmark, can only strengthen his chance of mastering the bunch events. Dibben, in a recent interview with British Cycling confirmed:
“After that Glasgow points race he (Newton) told me a lot of things, I watched it back on the video and he has pointed out little things that will make a big difference. He knows exactly what he is doing so it’s good to have him as almost the textbook."
The men’s Madison will be contested by an exciting young line up consisting of British Cycling Academy riders Owain Doull and current National Madison champion Simon Yates. Doull will ride the men’s scratch on Thursday and Yates will contest the points race on Friday.
The women’s team pursuit will see current world and Olympic champions Laura Trott and Dani King join forces with current Junior World Time Trial and British Cycling Academy athlete Elinor Barker. Barker, has spent the 2012/13 world cup season riding for Team USN (a trade team, set up to ensure that Wales prepare fully for the forthcoming 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow) as well as being part of a sterling performance with King and Trott in the second round of the track world cup in Glasgow last November. It was here, at the inaugural event on the new Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, where the British trio took gold after upping the ante in the final with an impressive ride against an Australian side, a side who had qualified fastest by almost half a second earlier that day. Trott will also compete in the omnium and will be looking to retain her rainbow jersey in the event in which she is also current Olympic Champion. Dani King will compete in both the scratch and points during the five day competition in Belarus.
The men’s team sprint team will consist of British Cycling Podium Programme athletes Olympic Champions Phillip Hindes and Jason Kenny as well as Academy rider Kian Emadi. Emadi in his senior world championship debut, will be filling the slot usually reserved for Sir Chris Hoy in man three. The 20 year old rider from Stoke-on-Trent, has impressed selectors and coaches alike with his recent rise to form on the boards culminating in a national title in the kilo in 2012 and a silver medal in the very same event in the Cali track world cup round last year. Emadi will also be contesting the kilo in Minsk on the opening day of competition as well as the individual sprint on the 23 February.
Becky James (above) in final preparations at the National Cycling Centre, Manchester
Olympic sprint champion Jason Kenny will compete in the individual sprint and the keirin alongside Matt Crampton. Kenny will be looking for a better run since his last outing in the keirin in Glasgow, when his chances of a podium spot ended after a heavy crash. The Bolton rider who ended up being awarded fourth place after crossing the line on his road bike was forced to withdraw from the individual sprint the following day as a direct result of the injuries he sustained in the keirin.
The women’s team sprint will feature British Cycling Podium Programme athlete Becky James as well as world championships first timer and Academy rider Victoria Williamson. Williamson was included in the squad after Jess Varnish picked up a back injury during training which ruled her out of the running in favour of making a full recovery, as coach Iain Dyer explains:
“Jess has had an on-going back complaint for quite some time,” Dyer explained. “It started off as a bit of a rumble in her lumbar spine and we were able to manage that through soft tissue therapy.
“After the Olympics she had a break and got back into training and we were particularly mindful we needed to take things pretty steady getting back into the gym and back on the bike. But by the time the end of the year came around and we’d finished the Perth training camp her back had clearly become a lot more troublesome.
“We’ve done the best we can to manage and treat the issue but ultimately something like a disc fissure is hard to treat with anything other than rest.”
James was victorious as part of her partnership with Jess Varnish in both the first world cup of the season in Cali and the second in Glasgow. The fastest time of last season was however by Australia’s Kaarle Mcculloch and ex-Paralympic pilot Stephanie Morton who clocked an impressive 33.033 seconds in Mexico. Although this time was clocked way above sea level (around 3000m), at an event which had no Great Britain team representation, the Australians are still surely a team to be mindful of ahead of Wednesday’s qualifying round.
Both Williamson and James will compete in all the individual sprint events throughout the championships.
British Cycling will be reporting live from Belarus throughout the championships and will be bringing updates as they happen along with reports, interviews and pictures direct from track centre at the Minsk Arena via our website and on twitter.
Live video coverage will be available in HD on the British Cycling website throughout the championship.