A team of 16 Great Britain Cycling Team riders will travel to Cali, Colombia for the final round of the 2014/15 UCI Track Cycling World Cup from 16-18 January, with the focus on Olympic Academy Programme riders getting a top-flight international competition experience.
With qualification for February’s world championships in Paris secured after first two rounds, established performers such as Jess Varnish, Matt Crampton and Lewis Oliva will be joined by riders drawn from British Cycling’s Olympic Academy Programme.
These, along with guest riders Jonny Biggin from Scotland and Wales’ Ellie Coster, will benefit from the experience of three days of competition at the Velodromo Alcides Nieto Patino.
The senior endurance teams that competed in the Guadalajara and London world cups will make way for academy talent in Colombia with Germain Burton, Matthew Gibson, Christopher Latham, Mark Stewart and Oliver Wood representing Great Britain in the men’s events.
Nineteen-year-old Burton was part of a team which claimed fourth place in the team pursuit at the 2013 UCI Juniors Track Cycling World Championships in Glasgow and competed in the UCI Under-23 Nations’ Cup throughout 2014.
Gibson, 18, was an integral part of Great Britain’s road squad for the UCI Under-23 Nations’ Cup and also represented Great Britain at the 2014 UCI Road World Championships.
Gibson graduated onto the academy in October 2014 and showed his track prowess the following month, taking a prestigious win at Six Days of Ghent alongside fellow academy athlete Chris Lawless.
Christopher Latham joined the Olympic Academy Programme in 2012 after winning gold medals in the points and individual pursuit at the British Cycling Junior Track Championships. Latham also took silver in the pursuit and scratch at the European championships in the same year.
Mark Stewart hails from Dundee in Scotland has been involved in sport from an early age, beginning as a swimmer before moving through triathlon to track cycling. The 19-year-old rode for Scotland in the 2014 Commonwealth Games, contesting the individual pursuit, points and scratch races. Mark is the current British points race champion.
Oliver Wood made his UCI Track Cycling World Cup debut almost exactly a year ago at the final round of the 2013/14 series in Guadalajara. Since then the 19-year-old from Wakefield has gone on to win the British Madison title alongside Andy Tennant.
The world-beating Great Britain women’s endurance squad will miss the Cali round having performed impressively in Mexico and London. In their place, British interests will be served by the Team USN trade squad of Ellie Coster, Emily Kay, Manon Lloyd, Emily Nelson and Amy Roberts.
Kay and Nelson are no strangers to international victory on the track, half of the squad that struck gold and set a new team pursuit world record in the 2013 UCI Juniors Track Cycling World Championships in Glasgow. They will be joined by Welsh rider Ellie Coster, who rode alongside Roberts, Lloyd and Kay at the second world cup round in London.
The men’s sprint will see a fresh line-up for the final world cup round, with Matt Crampton and Lewis Oliva joined by guest rider Jonny Biggin stepping in for Philip Hindes, Jason Kenny and Callum Skinner.
The 25-year-old from Rutherglen in Scotland sprang to prominence when he rode to fifth place in the team sprint at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow alongside rising star Callum Skinner and Chris Pritchard.
Both Matt Crampton and Lewis Oliva will make his first world cup appearances of the season in Cali. Their last international outing was at the UEC European Track Championships at Guadeloupe in October 2014, where the two competed in the team sprint alongside Callum Skinner, finishing sixth.
Jess Varnish and Victoria Williamson will represent Great Britain in the women’s sprint disciplines, completing a full-house of world cup appearances this season, joined for the final round by Katy Marchant.
The 22-year-old is a relatively recent convert to cycling, having represented Great Britain as a heptathlete in the 2012 junior world championships.
Marchant switched to track cycling on the advice of her former coach Tony Minichiello (who also coached Jessica Ennis) and made the academy in April 2013, fast-tracked into the podium programme just a few months later.
Varnish and Williamson will hope to improve upon their London performances in the sprint, which saw both riders exit before the quarter-final stage. London also saw Varnish battle through to fifth in an eventful keirin, while in the team sprint, the pairing finished fifth with Williamson assuming the man-one role.
Santiago de Cali’s Velodromo Alcides Nieto Patino will host the event, and has been a regular stop on the UCI Track Cycling World Cup, also hosting the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in 2014.
The 250-metre track, which is situated at 1003 metres above sea level, was built in 1971 and renovated in 2007.
Cali’s key feature is its open sides, which can create challenging conditions dependent upon wind and rain. During the 2014 UCI Track Cycling World Championships, parts of the track were flooded after a bout of torrential rain swept the area.
Reports, results and images will appear on the British Cycling website. The UCI YouTube channel will broadcast live from the event from 9:00pm to 11:45pm GMT.
You can also follow British Cycling on Twitter @BritishCycling for updates.
Event schedule (UK time - 5 hours)