A 20-strong Great Britain Cycling Team containing 10 former track world champions is destined to thrill home crowds at the 2016 UCI Track Cycling World Championships from 2-6 March.
Coming just months before the Olympic Games in Rio, the event at London’s Lee Valley VeloPark will be a massive opportunity for the squad to measure themselves against the world’s best.
The British team for the event is one of the largest and arguably strongest ever assembled at an elite track world championships, with proven world beaters like Sir Bradley Wiggins, Laura Trott, Mark Cavendish and Jason Kenny lining up alongside rising stars like Callum Skinner, Chris Latham, Emily Nelson and Owain Doull.
The team approaches the event in top form after clinching overall victory in the UCI Track Cycling World Cup and will be keen to build on that success as Rio beckons.
Great Britain’s male sprinters ended their world cup campaign on a high, with team sprint victory at the final round in Hong Kong helping them clinch overall victory ahead of Germany.
Jason Kenny added bronze in the individual sprint in Hong Kong, signalling a return to the kind of blistering solo form that saw the man from Bolton take Olympic gold in 2012 and the world keirin title in 2013.
However, the focus is firmly on the team event, with Kenny joining fellow Olympic champion Philip Hindes as the nucleus of the squad. Vying for the anchor lap role are Matt Crampton and Callum Skinner. Great Britain have not won world gold in the event since 2005 when Sir Chris Hoy, Jamie Staff and Jason Queally triumphed in Los Angeles.
Crampton has experienced a home world championships before, taking sprint bronze in 2008. The 29-year-old has twice won silver in the team event, alongside Jamie Staff and Kenny in 2009 and with Sir Chris Hoy and Kenny two years later.
Callum Skinner has impressed in the man-three role already this season, the quadruple 2014 British champion winning gold in Hong Kong with Hindes and Kenny.
With Olympic qualification hanging in the balance, the pressure is on for Britain’s women team sprinters to deliver in London. Great Britain, who currently sit in ninth in UCI Olympic Track Ranking, must overtake European rivals France to book an Olympic berth.
Three years ago in Minsk, Becky James took the sprint and keirin world titles, along with bronze in the 500-metre time trial and team sprint, but was laid low with knee injury for much of the 2014, returning to action in summer 2015.
And it was 2015 that saw the emergence of Katy Marchant, the former-heptathlete taking a full house of British sprint titles ahead of a season-long campaign at the European championships and world cups.
Marchant has slotted strongly into the rider-two role in the team sprint behind Jess Varnish, the most experienced of the British female sprint trio. For Varnish, it will be a second world championships appearance on home soil, having made her senior world championships debut in Manchester back in 2008.
Following a four-year unbeaten run of world titles, Great Britain’s women team pursuiters were finally toppled in a dramatic record-breaking battle with Australia a year ago in Paris, an event that the squad are keen to avenge in front of a home crowd.
After winning the title from 2011 to 2014, the squad were pushed into second position by Annette Edmondson, Ashlee Kudinoff, Amy Cure and Melissa Hoskins at the Vélodrome de Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines.
Laura Trott, Elinor Barker and Joanna Rowsell Shand will have to do without Katie Archibald, who will miss the world championships to continue her recovery following a cruciate ligament injury, the team drawing on the talents of Ciara Horne and Emily Nelson.
Throughout the season, Laura Trott has divided her attentions between team pursuit and omnium duties and will do likewise in London, having dominated the six-discipline event at the European championships in Grenchen and the world cups in Cali and Hong Kong.
Twelve months ago in Paris, Trott was denied the world title by Australia’s Annette Edmondson.
Joanna Rowsell Shand won the first-ever world championship women’s team pursuit in Manchester six years ago and has been at the core of the team ever since.
Two years ago in Cali, Rowsell Shand followed team pursuit gold with the individual pursuit title but may face internal competition from European bronze medallist Ciara Horne.
Elinor Barker has been a consistent presence in the team pursuit line-up since winning gold in her senior world championships debut in 2013. Barker was just 18 when she took the title in Minsk, a year younger than Emily Nelson, who makes her senior world championships debut.
However, 19-year-old Nelson is no stranger to world-championships success, having taken the junior team pursuit title in 2013 and 2014. Stepping into the senior ranks, Nelson impressed at the final round of the world cup, taking silver in the team pursuit and bronze in the points race.
In Manchester, 2000, a 19-year-old Bradley Wiggins won his first senior world championships medal, taking silver alongside Jonny Clay, Chris Newton and Paul Manning in the team pursuit.
Sixteen years later, Wiggins is back at the track world championships in front of a home crowd in a bid for further titles and more importantly, selection for a fifth Olympic Games.
Since transitioning back from the road at the end of the 2014 season, Wiggins has successfully reintegrated into the team pursuit squad, winning the European title in Grenchen.
Amid the 35-year old’s glittering track and road palmares, Wiggins has won the individual pursuit world title three times, in 2003, 2007 and 2008, the latter two years also seeing the man from Kilburn clinch team pursuit gold.
2008 was undoubtedly the zenith of Wiggins’ track career, the rider going on to win a further world title alongside Mark Cavendish in the Madison, followed by double Olympic gold in Beijing.
Mark Cavendish is set to reprise the Madison partnership with Wiggins after an eight-year gap, the Manxman, like Wiggins bidding for another Olympic Games appearance on the track.
Cavendish’s aim however is Olympic omnium selection, the 30-year-old having competed in the multi-discipline event at the world cup in Hong Kong.
Ed Clancy makes his return from back surgery to make the London line-up, the man from Huddersfield, alongside Steven Burke, having been the engine room of the squad since prior to the Beijing Olympics.
Clancy was there alongside Burke, Peter Kennaugh, Geraint Thomas and Andy Tennant the last time Great Britain took the world title back in 2012, with gold since going to Australia in 2013 and 2014 and to New Zealand in 2015.
Bolstering the line-up are Jon Dibben, Owain Doull and Chris Latham, all of whom have seen team pursuit action throughout the 2015/16 campaign.
Conceived for the 2012 Olympic Games, London’s Lee Valley VeloPark has quickly become an internationally-renowned track cycling venue.
Designed by Hopkins Architects and built between 2009 and 2011, the state of the art building can accommodate 6000 spectators and houses a 250-metre Siberian pine track that has quickly built a reputation for memorable British performances.
Wednesday 2 March 2016
Session 1: 1pm
- Men’s team pursuit (qualifying)
- Women’s individual pursuit (qualifying)
- Men’s team sprint (qualifying)
- Women’s team sprint (qualifying)
Session 2: 6.30pm
- Men’s scratch race (final, medal ceremony)
- Women’s individual pursuit (finals, medal ceremony)
- Men’s team sprint (finals, medal ceremony)
- Women’s team sprint (finals, medal ceremony)
Thursday 3 March 2016
Session 1: 1pm
- Women’s team pursuit (qualifying)
- Women’s keirin (round 1, repechage)
- Men’s kilometre time trial (final, medal ceremony)
- Men’s team pursuit (round 1)
Session 2: 7pm
- Women’s keirin (round 2, finals, medal ceremony)
- Women’s scratch (final, medal ceremony)
- Men’s team pursuit (finals, medal ceremony)
Friday 4 March 2016
Session 1: 9am
- Men’s sprint (qualifying, 1/16 finals, 1/8 finals and 1/8 finals repechage)
- Men’s omnium (scratch)
- Men’s individual pursuit qualifying
Session 2: 2:30pm
- Women’s 500-metre time trial (finals, medal ceremony)
- Women’s team pursuit (round 1)
- Men’s omnium (pursuit)
Session 3: 7pm
- Men’s points race (final, medal ceremony)
- Men’s individual pursuit (finals, medal ceremony)
- Women’s team pursuit (finals, medal ceremony)
- Men’s omnium (elimination)
Saturday 5 March 2016
Session 1: 10am
- Women’s sprint (qualifying, 1/16 finals, 1/8 finals and 1/8 finals repechage)
- Women’s omnium (scratch)
- Men’s omnium (kilometre time trial)
Session 2: 2:45pm
- Men’s sprint (quarter-finals, 5-8 places)
- Men’s omnium (flying lap)
- Women’s omnium (pursuit)
Session 3: 7pm
- Men’s sprint (semi-finals, finals, medal ceremony)
- Women’s points race (final, medal ceremony)
- Men’s omnium (points race, medal ceremony)
- Women’s omnium (elimination)
Sunday 6 March 2016
Session 1: 10am
- Women’s sprint (quarter-finals, 5-8 places)
- Men’s keirin (round 1, repechage)
- Women’s omnium (500m time trial, flying lap)
Session 2: 2pm
- Women’s sprint (semi-finals, finals, medal ceremony)
- Men’s keirin (round 2, finals, medal ceremony)
- Women’s omnium (points, medal ceremony)
- Men’s Madison (final, medal ceremony)
British Cycling will be providing detailed website and social media coverage from London, alongside comprehensive television coverage from the BBC and Eurosport.
- Follow our live blog at po.st/GBLive and catch up on each day’s action in our daily reports
- Follow @BritishCycling on Twitter and join in the conversation using the #TWC2016 hashtag
- Follow our Facebook and Instagram accounts for regular updates
- Check out the official event website
Watch on TV
BBC and Eurosport will be broadcasting the evening sessions from Wednesday to Saturday and the concluding afternoon session on Sunday. Both broadcasters will also feature repeat, highlights and same day delayed coverage throughout the five days of action.