On 2nd March the World Track Cycling Championships will head to the Lee Valley VeloPark in London for 5 days of nonstop track action, bringing together some of the best in the world in what could be an indication of things to happen come the summer.
Each day will see a different title decided, with a packed schedule covering Sprint to Individual Pursuit to Time Trials. Ahead of the championships we’ve taken a look at a few of the riders across the various disciplines to look out for.
The Sprint was perfected by Sir Chris Hoy and requires a combination of muscle power and brain power over the three laps, with the last 50 metres being the time when riders begin to make their moves.
Gregory Bauge (France)
For the past 4 years Bauge and Jason Kenny have been competing at the highest level. In 2012 Bauge regained his World Championship Sprint title in Melbourne from none other than Kenny, then at London he was only able to take silver behind Kenny and Team GB in the Sprint and Team Sprint races respectively.
Since his disappointment at London he has gone on take silver in the Team Sprint at the 2013 European Championship, Gold in the Sprint and Team Sprint events at the Fenious Piste International and gold once again last year in both the Sprint and Team Sprint events at the World Championships in Paris.
So far Olympic gold has eluded Bauge but retaining his World Championship title will give him the confidence he may need going into the summer.
Jason Kenny (Great Britain)
It is Olympic year once again and in 2012 Jason took home the medals, with a gold and new world record in the Team Sprint alongside Sir Chris Hoy and Phillip Hendes. He was also triumphant in the Sprint race by beating Bauge along with setting an Olympic record in the process for his final 200 metre lap. As a result of his accomplishments in London he was also awarded an OBE (order of the British Empire).
More recently he took silver at the Commonwealth Games in the Team Sprint and despite a difficult route to the final took silver in the Sprint just behind Sam Webster.
There is a clear rivalry with Bauge, so it will be interesting to see what happens in London and whether Kenny is able to add the World Championship to his list of honours ahead of a very important summer, given his form has been very much up and down since 2012.
This is just a simple race format across 15km for men and 10km for women combining endurance and power. It is a spectator sport with a mass start and requiring riders to manage the laps accordingly, whether they save themselves for the final sprint or look to take an early lead and maintain it with endurance.
Kirsten Wild (Netherlands)
Kirsten is currently the World Champion Scratch Cyclist, having taken the title in 2015 in Paris and will be hoping to retain it in Olympic year. In 2012 she was part of the Dutch team who finished sixth in the Team Pursuit, having also finished sixth herself in the Omnium, so with recent form in her favour we expect to see big things this year.
This is a head to head race across 4km for the men and 3km for women where riding at speed is the most important thing.
Stefan Kueng (Switzerland)
Born in 1993, Stefan will be one of the younger riders at the tournament but comes with a host of credentials, none other than gold in the Individual Pursuit in 2015. In the same year he also took gold in the Individual Pursuit and Points race at the Switzerland National Track Championships.
With Stefan being in the best form of his career following a very successful 2015 with his new team BMC he will be one to watch this year, in contention to retain his title and bid for glory in Rio.
This is the pinnacle of the sport, covering six events across two days to find the best cyclist across all disciplines. The event is the same as seen in the Olympics and consists of a Points race, Flying Lap, Individual Pursuit, Elimination Race, Time Trial and Scratch Race.
Fernando Gaviria Rendon (Colombia)
A rider consistently finishing competitions on the podium Fernando hit the professional stage in 2013 having cleaned up at the Juniors Track World Championships in 2012. Since then he has dominated the South American tournaments before entering the world stage in 2015 where he took gold in the Omnium in Paris to become World Champion.
He still has age on his side and has a lot left to give to the sport so we expect him to do well in London and beyond.
Annette Edmondson (Australia)
A very accomplished rider she has dominated the National Track Championships since 2010, again taking gold once again in the Scratch and Points race this year. On the world stage she took gold and silver in the Scratch and Individual Pursuit at the Commonwealth Games respectively. In the World Championships she took bronze in both the Team Pursuit and Omnium.
2015 however saw her take gold in both the Team Pursuit and Omnium at the World Championships, making her a favourite going into the tournament, especially on the back of her successes at the National Track Championships.
The Madison involves a pair of riders work together across 200 laps. The format is similar to the Points race but as a tag team whereby the main rider stays at the bottom of the track and their partner rides at the top of the track until they are tagged in.
This year will also see Sir Bradley Wiggins pair up with Mark Cavendish once again following their 2008 triumph in a partnership which we may also see in the summer. This is a perfect partnership between endurance and sprint and will be a team to watch out for in London.
Mark Cavendish (Great Britain)
Starting out as a track cyclist Cavendish converted to road cycling in 2006 and regarded as one of the best sprinters of his generation. His last track achievements came in 2008 where he took gold in the Madison riding with Sir Bradley Wiggins and three years earlier riding with Rob Hayles. He also took gold in the 2006 Scratch at the Commonwealth Games.
With his long awaited return to the track and the intention of challenging for an Olympic medal in the summer he will be one to watch in London as he bids to reclaim the title he last won in 2008.
Sir Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain)
One of the most famous and recognised cyclists in the world, Wiggins will be returning to the track with Cavendish in a bid to repeat the success they saw in 2008 before they both took up road cycling. He will be remembered most for his achievements in 2012, taking the Tour de France followed by a gold in London in the time trial.
Since 2012 Wiggins has continued to dominate the medals tables in everything he does, therefore his partnership with Cavendish will be a great spectacle.
There are plenty of other riders attending the championships who are worth a look but we can’t mention them all. We will of course be cheering Team GB on to glory.