Published: 28 October 2013
By Scott Hobro
Double world champion Becky James can’t wait to race in front of a home crowd at the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Manchester.
James was named in the 17-person Great Britain Cycling Team squad that will compete at the Manchester Velodrome and she will contest the sprint, keirin and team sprint from 1-3 November.
It will be the first time the 21-year-old has raced in the UK since winning keirin and sprint world titles in Belarus in February and the Welshwoman is relishing the opportunity.
“I’m really excited that it’s back here in Manchester, there’s nothing to beat riding on a home track and having a home crowd,” James said.
“Riding in the Glasgow world cup last year was incredible but where I train everyday and having a home crowd here will be even better, having the support there and knowing that pretty much everyone that is going to be there is supporting you.”
The Manchester Velodrome is home to the Great Britain Cycling Team and for James has been a training base since 2009 when she became a full-time athlete.
She has since won numerous British, European and UCI Track Cycling World Cup titles before her rainbow jerseys in Minsk.
But despite the benefits of riding on the track every week, James downplayed the benefits of competing on familiar boards.
“We ride Manchester three or four days a week. I wouldn’t say it’s an advantage but it’s great to be riding on a home track again,” said James, who has missed out on medals at previous Manchester UCI Track Cycling World Cup appearances in 2009 and 2011.
“I’ve had four years full-time training here in Manchester now and I think I’ve developed as a rider in those four years. I’m looking forward to racing and hopefully it will go well.”
On whether the expectation of being a world champion would affect her, James added: “A little bit, you’ve just got to try and not think about it. Focus on it race by race and step by step.”
James enters the event on the back of the European championships in Apeldoorn. There she won bronze in the team sprint with Jess Varnish and finished seventh in the keirin, opting to miss the sprint.
She had missed this year’s British National Track Championships held in September. Instead she raced in Japan’s keirin season, winning all nine of the races she contested.
"It went better than I thought it was going to," James said of the Euros.
"It was a good bit of racing," she told Press Association Sport. "I always think racing's the best training, it was great to go and race there rather than go straight into the world cup.
"I didn't ride the sprint at the Europeans and some of the girls asked why. I said I'm just getting back into it after Japan and they said 'but you're world sprint champion, you should be riding'.
"It's nice to hear they want me to be riding."