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UCI Track World Championships: A new Olympiad begins in Minsk




For the best athletes on the planet, the Olympic Games in Rio already begin this week on the track at Minsk, the capital of Belarus. In the absence of several stars of the velodrome, the national federations are hoping to discover some new talent, during the competitions that will take place from Wednesday to Sunday.

The British, who dominated events in London last year, are also preparing a new generation of track riders. They will be without their star riders Victoria Pendleton – who has required – and Chris Hoy, who is not currently racing, but may take place in the Commonwealth Games in 2014. In Minsk, Great Britain will be able to count on the young riders who had already emerged in London by taking gold medals (Jason Kenny, Philip Hindes, Laura Trott and Dani King) or the novices like Jon Dibben, taking part in the Omnium and the team sprint events.

Australia, although without their champion sprinter Anna Meares, can legitimately hope to win several titles this week, as can New Zealand, Germany and France, other nations who traditionally do well in the velodromes.

Better known for its track cyclists than for its road racers, Colombia could create a surprise on the Minsk Arena track, in particular with the young Juliana Gaviria, who had won the Keirin at Cali, in the first round of the UCI World Cup 2012-2013 presented by Samsung.

However, it’s the riders from eastern Europe who will be in the majority in these world championships, which will include 35 nations and 262 riders. Russia will have 31 athletes, almost double the British and Australian contingent (16), while the Ukrainians and Belarus will have 17 and 13 riders respectively.

The World Cycling Center will be putting forward three athletes that it has prepared in Aigle over the last few weeks. The Chinese riders Shuang Guo and Jinjie Gong can expect wins in the team sprint and the Keirin, and will surely inspire their team-mate Eoin Mullen, 19, who will compete in his first world championships since he was a Junior.

The spectators, who had already witnessed, in this same velodrome, the Junior Track European Championships and under-23s in 2009, will continue to follow the progress of these young hopefuls of the discipline. They will be able to collect autographs that will be worth gold in four years, at the Rio Games.

The Track World Championships 2013 can be followed on the UCI Youtube channel or on the welcome page of the UCI website. For those who miss an event “live”, you will be able to find many highlights on video.

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