UCI Track Cycling World Cup: last chance in Hong Kong
Four years after Beijing, the UCI Track Cycling World Cup is back in Asia. This final round of the series marks the end of the first part of the season.
After Cali (Colombia) and Cambridge (New Zealand), the best riders in the world will gather at the Asian track determined to put on a good show.
Lee Wai Sze, third in the women's sprint in Cali and second in the World Cup keirin last year, will compete in front of her home crowd for the first time ever at this level. The spectators will also offer great support to the athletes of the People's Republic of China, including Team Sprint World Champions, Zhong Tianshi and Gong Jinjie.
This round of the World Cup also marks the return of Britain's Mark Cavendish. The former Madison World Champion (2005 and 2008) is one of the most successful riders currently active on the road. The rider from the Isle of Man has not only won the Road World Championships (2011) but also 42 Grand Tour stages! Cavendish, now aged 30, who joined the UCI WorldTeam Dimension Data this winter, explains his participation: "My job is on the road, but I dream of an Olympic medal on the track. Of course I haven't qualified for Rio yet so I have to pick up some points." The former partner of Bradley Wiggins in the Madison says: "I like the new format of the Omnium, it suits my qualities perfectly."
Unlike the Manxman, the Netherlands' Theo Bos, 32, will completely abandon the road for the boards of the velodrome this season. Quadruple World Champion between 2004 and 2007 (sprint and kilometre), Bos joined the professional road peloton in 2009. But the attraction of the Olympic Games is overwhelming. To begin his track comeback, Bos will compete in the team sprint in Hong Kong. But he is well aware that his place on the team is not guaranteed in advance. Jeffrey Hoogland, the 22-year-old triple European Champion warns: "His return will lead to competition for places and that's a source of motivation."
With the World Championships in London on the horizon (2-6 March), marking the return of the best track riders to European soil, the World Cup events in Hong Kong will not lack suspense.
Watch the racing live on tv.uci.ch.