The final round of the 2013/14 UCI Track Cycling World Cup sees a young Great Britain team travel to Guadalajara in Mexico to gain top-flight competition experience, with four riders getting a taste of senior world cup action for the first time.
With world championship qualification in key events assured for Great Britain’s athletes, the final world cup round, on 17-19 January, sees Dannielle Khan, Oliver Wood, Chris Latham and Jake Ragan make their senior debuts.
Great Britain will field new combinations in the men’s and women’s team sprint while Dani King will break out of the team pursuit mould and contest two solo events.
A young team pursuit squad of Oliver Wood, Jake Ragan, Chris Latham and Jon Dibben will get a chance to experience world cup competition, with all but Dibben making their senior debuts.
Current national junior Madison champion Oliver Wood spoke of his excitement at being selected..
“I’m very excited. (I have) never done a world cup,” said the recently promoted Olympic Academy Programme rider. “The biggest competition I've done so far is junior worlds so it was a big surprise to be getting called up to do it but I'm really looking forward to it."
Along with Wood, Jake Ragan is one of four men’s endurance riders moving from the development to the academy ranks in November 2013, following a strong season on the road and track.
Chris Latham is a second year British Cycling Olympic Academy Programme rider, having spent 2013 focussing on Great Britain’s highly successful UCI under 23 Nations’ Cup road campaign.
Jon Dibben is the most experienced of the men’s endurance squad travelling the Mexico. Having competed at both world cup and world championship level and been part of the senior squad taking part in the first two world cup rounds in Manchester and Aguascalientes, Dibben’s previous world cup experience will prove invaluable.
The 19-year-old is also set to ride the individual pursuit and the omnium, having finished fifth in the latter event in Manchester. The points race will be contented by either Oliver Wood or Jake Ragan with the Madison line-up yet to be decided.
Dani King will be the sole representative in the women’s endurance events, her team pursuit teammates Laura Trott, Joanna Rowsell, Elinor Barker and Katie Archibald not travelling. King will compete in the scratch race and the omnium, the latter new territory for the 23-year-old from Southampton, with Trott the current Olympic omnium champion and world cup leader.
“Clearly Laura is the best in the world at the event but I like to keep her on her toes,” joked King..
“I really enjoy bunch racing, so it’ll be a great opportunity for me to go out there and see what I can do really.”
The men’s team sprint will be contested by John Paul, Callum Skinner and Lewis Oliva. Paul joins the Great Britain team as a guest rider, combining with 2012 British national sprint champion Skinner and British Cycling Olympic Podium Programme rider Oliva, the latter contesting the previous two rounds as part of Wales’ Team USN setup.
Speaking ahead of the event Oliva said: “JP (John Paul) will fill the man one slot out there, at the minute it looks like Callum is going to go man two off the back of some good form recently riding Revolutions and I'm going to try and bring it home as best I can in man three.
"We've got quite a good chance as a team. Then individually, been going well so there's no reason we couldn't get on the podium."
Oliva will also take part in the keirin and, along with teammate Skinner, the individual sprint.
For Skinner, it will be his first and only world cup appearance of the season, the 21-year-old Scot also taking part in the one kilometre time-trial.
Following her standout performance in the 2013 UCI Juniors World Track Championships, 18-year- old Dannielle Khan gets her senior debut in Mexico, partnering Victoria Williamson in the team sprint event.
Williamson last saw world cup action at round one in Manchester alongside the more experienced Becky James. This time Williamson will ride man-one and play mentor to Khan, who spoke of her excitement at stepping up to the top flight.
“I'm just so excited. I never expected to be going to a world cup this soon,” Khan said.
“Obviously this is my senior world cup debut and I've only just turned senior after Christmas, so it's just a dream really to be able to step on to the big world stage and race against the best in the world, race the big girls, I can't wait.”
Khan and Williamson will both contest the individual sprint, while Williamson will take part in the 500 metre time trial and keirin events.
Round three of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup will take place from 17-19 January in Guadalajara, Mexico. Reports and results will appear on the British Cycling website.