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Cycling: Back to business

BRITAIN'S track stars will be hoping to blow away the cobwebs in Glasgow next weekend at their first major international competitive event on home soil since London 2012.

Ed Clancy is switching to the sprint in Glasgow   Photograph: Getty
Ed Clancy is switching to the sprint in Glasgow Photograph: Getty

Seven Olympic gold medallists, including Laura Trott and Jason Kenny, will be among the impressive British line-up which will compete at the sell-out UCI Track Cycling World Cup at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome. The duo will be joined by fellow gold-medal winners Ed Clancy, Philip Hindes, Steven Burke, Dani King and Joanna Rowsell.

A crop of young talent will also compete, including Becky James, tipped as a successor to recently-retired Victoria Pendleton, and Jess Varnish, who missed out on a medal in London after being disqualified in the team sprint.

The event will see Clancy, who won gold in the Olympic team pursuit and bronze in the omnium, test the water as he attempts to make the move from endurance disciplines to sprint. The rider admitted to some trepidation about the transition, but said he felt ready for a fresh challenge.

"Going into new territory, I don't know what to expect," said Clancy. "The big thing is trying to get on the wheel at the start, not so much the first quarter but the second and third quarter of the first lap. It's going to be quite interesting to see whether I can match those boys for acceleration when they get going.

"In terms of how fast I'm going to go on my last lap, I've got no idea of what I'm going to be able to do. I guess I've got nothing to lose and we'll soon find out.

"Plan A is that the team sprint will go well in Glasgow and hopefully I'll ride that at the worlds, as well as the kilo as a side project. [It's] just a bit of a break from the team pursuit. I've nothing against it, I love riding team pursuit, but sometimes a change is as good as a break, that's the idea behind it."

With six-time Olympic gold medallist Sir Chris Hoy on a competitive sabbatical, British Cycling sprint coach Jan Van Eijden said he was keen to gauge the potential of Clancy alongside Hindes and Kenny.

"Ed is in a trial with the sprint squad," he said. "If you see his performance throughout the last two years in the omnium, he posted some decent times in the flying lap as well as the kilo and that sort of started his interest, as well as ours: what would he be capable of as a sprinter?

"The most obvious one is the three-man team sprint. With Chris taking this season out, we've been looking to find a man three. He [Clancy] has thrown his hat in the ring and been training with the sprint squad. It has been really promising."

While British Cycling is yet to finalise the start list for each event, it is anticipated that reigning Olympic team pursuit champions Trott, King and Rowsell will be reunited in that discipline. Three-time Olympic gold medallist Kenny is a favourite in the men's individual sprint. The three-day event, which will see riders go head-to-head in the keirin, sprint, team sprint, team pursuit and the omnium, sold out all 16,000 tickets less than an hour after going on sale in August.

Although Hoy will not be competing at the event, he is expected to be a guest of honour.

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