Tomorrow – Wednesday, February 20 – sees the start of the 2013 UCI Track World Championships in Minsk, Belarus. Always an electrifying prospect, this year’s event deserves our particular attention as it marks a potential watershed for the GB team; Hoy is ‘resting’, Pendleton now retired, and stepping up to the challenge are a roster of exciting new riders. British Cycling Performance Director Sir Dave Brailsford has gone so far as to describe it as ‘a changing of the guard.’ GB is certainly fielding an outstanding group of Olympic Medallists – Dani King, Laura Trott, Jason Kenny, Philip Hindes, Ed Clancy, Steve Burke – but perhaps the real excitement will come from watching the likes of Becky James, Kian Emadi, Elinor Barker and Jon Dibben…
Contemplating this new mix Brailsford says, ‘This worlds is always where you start to see this blend of youth and more experienced riders coming together and that’s always exciting to see… The time after the Olympic Games is a time to experiment, try new things, in many respects mix it up a little in terms of training and what riders are focusing on. I think it keeps an interest, it makes a difference and it makes a dynamic.’
The five days of competition from February 20-24 is, of course, the first major track meeting since the London Olympic Games with the usual mix of sprint and endurance events but, due to rule changes soon to come into force, Minsk will contain some swan songs. The trio of Dani King, Elinor Barker and Laura Trott will be the last GB squad to compete (at least at a major meet) in the current pursuit format of three riders, three kilometres with the event scheduled to change to four riders across four kilometres to bring it in line with the men’s discipline ahead of the Rio Olympic Games. This certainly makes the competition one to watch with King commenting, ‘We’re going to go out there and ride the fastest we can. We need to go out with a bang to say goodbye to the three-kilometre and three-woman event…’
The venue in itself should prove an interesting backdrop; The Minsk Arena (its
3,000-seat skating stadium home to the Dynamo-Minsk hockey club) has previously played host to the European Track Cycling Championships and upgrades to facilities now makes it one of the most highly specced and multifunctional venues in Europe. But for those not planning to make the trip to Belarusian capital the BBC have comprehensive coverage presented by Jonathan Edwards and with commentary by Hugh Porter and Chris Boardman. With 19 titles up for grabs the outline finals and BBC coverage are:
Wednesday, February 20
Finals: Men’s Kilometre TT, Women’s Individual Pursuit, Women’s Team Sprint and Men’s Team Pursuit.
BBC Coverage: 4-7pm Red Button and online, 5.45-6pm BBC Two, from 4pm on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra.
Thursday, February 21
Finals: Women’s 500m TT, Men’s Individual Pursuit, Women’s Team Pursuit, Men’s 15km Scratch and Men’s Team Sprint.
BBC Coverage: 4-7pm Red Button and online, 4.15-6pm BBC Two, from 4pm on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra.
Friday, February 22
Finals: Women’s 10km Scratch, Men’s 40km Points and Men’s Keirin.
BBC Coverage: 4-7pm Red Button and online, 4.15-6pm BBC Two, from 4pm on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, 10pm-7am highlights on Red Button.
Saturday, February 23
Finals: Women’s 25km Points, Men’s Omnium and Women’s Individual Sprint.
BBC Coverage: From 4pm on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, 5.15-7pm BBC Two and online, 9-11.15pm highlights on the Red Button.
Sunday, February 24
Finals: Women’s Omnium, Men’s Individual Sprint, Men’s 50km Madison, Women’s Keirin.
BBC Coverage: 11am-2.05pm on BBC Two and online, from 11am on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, 8-11.05pm highlights on the Red Button.
For the complete event schedule see: britishcycling.org.uk