A team of six Great Britain athletes will travel to Ghent for the International Belgian Open from 6-7 September to earn qualification for 2013/14 UCI Track Cycling World Cup series.
Jon Dibben, Mark Cavendish, Owain Doull, Steven Burke, Ross Edgar and Joanna Rowsell will compete to ensure they are eligible for the three rounds of the world cup, which will subsequently qualify riders for the 2014 UCI Track Cycling World Championships.
Dibben will contest the omnium, Steven Burke and Joanna Rowsell the individual pursuit and Ross Edgar, riding for Scotland, the scratch and points races.
Cavendish and Doull will compete in the scratch race and also together in the Madison. British Cycling endurance coach Paul Manning is looking forward to having the 2011 road world champion with the squad.
“We had a conversation about the potential of him having a play on the track this winter,” Manning said.
“The UCI are making us pre-qualify for world cups, both the individuals that race and some of the events. Ghent is the last one before the cut off date for him to be eligible so by necessity he is going to go and race his bike.
“Mark’s going to go in the scratch race on his own and in the Madison he has to ride with someone. A lot of people have their programmes firmed up through to the road worlds but Owain is a good versatile bike rider. I think they could get on well together, it’ll be exciting for Owain to chat with someone of Mark’s experience, it is win-win for the squad having Mark around.”
“You might not have seen him pin on a number for a few years in a world cup environment but he’s trained on the track quite regularly."
Paul Manning on Mark Cavendish
Cavendish has twice been a world champion on the track in the Madison - in 2005 with Rob Hayles in Los Angeles and in 2008 with Sir Bradley Wiggins in Manchester. He also won gold at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in the scratch race for the Isle of Man.
The 28-year-old missed out on a medal in the Madison with Wiggins at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, finishing ninth.
His last international appearance on the track came at the 2009 world championships with Peter Kennaugh in the Madison with his main focus the road, winning points jersey in all three Grand Tours plus the world title for Great Britain in Copenhagen
But Manning insists he will have no issues switching back to competition on the boards.
“He has been on the track, he has trained on the track,” Manning said. “You might not have seen him pin on a number for a few years in a world cup environment but he’s trained on the track quite regularly.
“It’s been one of his bread and butter sort of training things, it keeps him in touch with certain aspects of his physiology and preparation so just because he hasn’t shouted about it he’s probably has been down here [in Manchester] a few times doing a few bits.
“It is difficult for road riders to create a space, the demands of the road are so great it is hard to find space but Mark has utilised this bit of a break he has to do that.”
After competing in the road race at the London Olympics, British road champion Cavendish expressed an interest in returning to the track for the Rio Olympics though Manning believes it is too early to speculate on the 2016 Games.
“I think if he continues to do it he can decide where he goes,” Manning said. “And like I’ve said to other people until we know more about Rio, the events on the track and the nature of the road course why would he narrow his options?
“We’ve created this little opportunity to get him on the boards and from that we’ll determine and have a look at diaries and what his and his team plans are.”
The Manchester velodrome, home of the Great Britain Cycling Team, will host the first round of the world cup from 1-3 November 2013.