World's best cyclists arrive in Olympic Park
With two days to go until the start of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup presented by Samsung, the world’s best track cyclists have arrived in London and begun training in the London 2012 Velodrome.
Five Olympic champions and 16 world champions, including Olympic gold medallists Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton will head up a world class field for the event which takes place from 16-19 February and doubles up as a London 2012 test event.
340 riders from 48 nations and 18 trade teams will compete in the four day competition as they get the opportunity to test the Velodrome in competitive conditions. Alongside Hoy and Pendelton, the Great Britain team has more strong medal contenders including Jason Kenny, Geraint Thomas and Ed Clancy. The competition will also feature current Sprint World Champion Anna Meares (Australia), Guo Shuang (CHN), Maximilian Levy (GER) and Robert Forstemann (GER) who is currently ranked World Cup number one in Sprint and Team Sprint.
The event is vital for the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) as they test operations for the Games. Key testing elements include the track, athlete facilities, results, timing and scoring systems, as well as how up to 1000 workforce and volunteers work together less than six months before the Games.
The opportunity for the world's best track cyclists to test the Velodrome in competitive conditions has contributed to the strength of the field, with many riders eager to compete in the London 2012 venue. With more than 25,000 spectators over six sessions set to enjoy the action and atmosphere, the event will be a real taste of what to expect in the Velodrome over the summer.
Debbie Jevans, LOCOG Director of Sport said of the event:
"We are excited to be able to have such a prestigious competition with the world's best track cyclists as our test event prior to the Games. The standard of athletes is excellent and with the event counting towards Olympic qualification we have no doubt that the atmosphere in the Velodrome will match the level of competition on the track. With over 1000 volunteers and workforce at the event as well as 350 athletes and television coverage, this is will be one of the biggest events that we have delivered as part of our test event programme”.
Pat McQuaid, President of the UCI said:
“The stakes will be extremely high in London this weekend. First and foremost, it is the final of the World Cup series, with athletes vying for the overall title. This London event is also one of the last occasions to gain points towards the UCI Olympic Track Ranking, so important for those nations still trying to secure starting spots for London 2012. And of course, as a London 2012 test event, this weekend is a vital test for the organisers and for the athletes wanting to get a feel for the Velodrome. With all these factors combined, I am in no doubt that the final round of the 2011-2012 UCI Track Cycling World Cup presented by Samsung will be unforgettable.”
Liz Nicholl, UK Sport Chief Executive said:
“UK Sport invests £3.5 million of Lottery funding a year into the bidding and staging of major events on home soil, and the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in London will be the 12th cycling event we have supported since 2007. The opportunity to compete at the Olympic venue, in front of a large and enthusiastic home crowd, will be invaluable for our athletes, coaches and support staff, who will take vital experience from this as they head towards their first Home Games.”
The iconic Velodrome, with its distinct double-curved roof which has been designed to reflect the geometry of the cycling track, will host Olympic and Paralympic indoor track cycling events on the 250 metre track during the Games. After the Games the Velodrome will form part of a facility which will include a BMX Track, one-mile long road cycle circuit, 6km of off-road mountain bike tracks and storage for over 300 bikes. It will also include a café and a 360 degree concourse level offering views over the Olympic Park and the London skyline.
The UCI Track Cycling World Cup presented by Samsung is supported by UK Sport’s World Class Events Programme. The schedule and full lists of teams and riders can be viewed on the UCI Track Cycling World Cup presented by Samsung rider list.