UCI Juniors Track Cycling World Championships
Location: Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, Glasgow
Event: 7 to 11 August 2013
Words: Simon Powers
The Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, which will welcome the twentieth Commonwealth Games in a little under a year’s time, will play host to the UCI Juniors Track World Championships from 7 to 11 August 2013.
As well as many of the riders getting a chance to try the track out before any potential commonwealth selections next summer, it will provide an important showcase as to the depth of talent coming through the various performance programmes around the world at present.
The main focus of the men’s endurance squad will be the team pursuit and the squad of four will be selected from Germain Burton, Tao Geoghegan Hart, Matthew Gibson, Jacob Ragan and Oliver Wood.
“Team pursuit is the key medal that we go for,” coach Matt Winston explains The riders will race the other races whilst they are there but they won’t do too much specific training for that.
“We have set a time to hit and everyone knows the target. If we hit that time on the day then that will be a result, regardless of where we finish.”
There have been some formidable performances on the track by junior men this year and recent performances by Denmark and Russia, who produced a four minutes and 10 seconds in the recent Junior/U23 European Track Championships in Portugal, give an indicator of just were the rest of the world are at currently.
“Looking at the times that have come out this year, I think Australia are the key contenders, Denmark have a strong track team.” Winston said. “Russia rode a 4:10 in Portugal. I think they will be disappointed if they don’t get a medal but looking at the results form races such as the Euros, I think it will be a real result if we walk away with a medal in Glasgow whatever the colour.
“There is some real strong quality in the junior men on the track at this moment in time.”
This will be the first time in the junior women’s team pursuit where the race will be run with four riders over a distance of four kilometres. The team will consist of Amy Hill, Hayley Jones, Emily Nelson and current senior National Team Pursuit Champion Emily Kay. After some strong performances by Italy in both the youth Olympic road race as well as the Euros in Portugal, it will be a strong field all looking to put their mark on the track in Scotland.
On his major rivals, Winston commented: “In the girls’ race, Australia are again the main contenders, Italy have got a strong team who won the youth Olympic road race recently as well as the team pursuit in the recent European track champs . It’s hard with the girls because they have yet to race in a four man competition.”
Great Britain will be represented by one sprinter, Dannielle Khan, who will ride in the 500m time trial, individual sprint and finish off with the keirin on the last day of competition.
British Cycling coach Jon Norfolk commented: “We have made one selection in Dannielle Khan, the majority of the group are first year juniors and although it is Glasgow and only up the road, the performance bar stays the same.
“Dannielle has progressed really well this year, really happy with her. She is in with a really good chance of some great performances in Glasgow.”
The Solihull rider who will celebrate her 18th birthday at the start of next month has made a big impact on the track in recent months. Khan, an ex-speed skater who used to cycle as part of her conditioning programme when not on the ice has everything to be excited about as the sole GB representative at her very first world championships.
“I’m really excited, Glasgow’s a great track, this is my first world champs,” said the current junior British individual sprint champion.
“I can go into the worlds knowing that I have done everything I can and that I couldn’t have put anything else into it. I can’t wait to get there and get racing.”
As with the junior endurance events, there have been some recent sprint performances by nations such as France which have set a new benchmark for what to expect on the boards in Glasgow.
“At a junior worlds, it can be quite difficult to know what’s going to happen and who is going to turn up. Different nations approach it in different ways,” Norfolk noted.
“Typically some other nations hit them very hard and push riders quite early in their careers whereas our performance pathways are centred around podium performances at Olympic Games. Junior worlds are more of a process target than an end result.
“We are looking for some good performances from Danielle this week. If she performed to the best of her abilities in a controlled manner and got everything out, I think we would certainly be happy with that.”