This weekend just gone Manchester hosted the first round of the track cycling World Cup - a series of meetings around the world that seems to be designed to use velodromes that would otherwise be unloved and one of the key ways for countries to qualify places for the track World Champs next year in Copenhagen.
With a bunch of friends I headed up to enjoy the Saturday and Sunday which sadly meant I missed Friday's action including Geraint Thomas' dominating performance in the men's individual pursuit - if he can stay uninjured next year and show the same class I hope he'll get some results on the road with Sky. But that didn't mean we have a good time.In terms of cycling, the Brits were pretty dominant winning 10 of the 17 events though this disguises a few positives and negatives (if like me you're a Brit too - otherwise think of them as the other way round ;-) ). In terms of positives was the strength in depth on the men's side with new talent coming through to replace the established stars like Chris Hoy and Wiggo who will move on eventually (or already have). The women's endurance side was impressive too with Wendy Houvenaghel owning the individual pursuit and the team pursuit with Lizzie Armitstead and Jo Rowsell. Lizzie Armitstead dominated the points race as well - at only 20 she has a great career ahead of her.
On the negative side was the fact that the competition wasn't that strong with some teams choosing to blood young'uns at an international level rather than bring their A game - the Danes in the team pursuit (where there was an Aussie no show), the French sprint team... though the clock doesn't lie and some of the times were blistering fast. The women's sprint team wasn't great either with Victoria Pendleton failing to fire and looking to be the only arrow in the team's quiver for the time being
Anyhow now for some photos - the few of the over a thousand I took that didn't come out blurry
Chris Hoy qualifying for the men's sprint:
The men's madison:
Women's points race:
The New Zealand pair in the madison final:
The GB men's team pursuit team:
Ready for the team sprint start:
The very cool Malaysian kit:
More photos here if you want 'em