Wednesday 4th April, 2012
It's that time of year, Track fans! Although a lot of riders will be racing for their last chance to try to get into their national teams for the Olympics, I'd argue that this will be a harder competition - after all, the Olympics has some sever limits on the number of riders per country and world region who can compete, while we're practically guaranteed seeing semi-finals where compatriots are pitted against each other. We're in Melbourne for this one, so expect the Australians to benefit from their home-crowd advantage in the same way that the British did at the London Track World Cup - not that they need the help!
Below the jump I'll give you a guide to what's on on Day 1 - and I hope you'll be joining me in the comments for some livethread fun!
First up, how to watch
The afternoon session is 15:00-17:05, Melbourne time - but the only thing being raced is the men's Team Pursuit qualifiers. The real action is the evening session - 19:00-21:25, and that time translates to 10:00 BEST, 11:00 CEST; 05:00 USA Eastern and 02:00 USA Western. And this is when the tv is live!
Here are the schedules, from various broadcasters - if you know more, add it to the comments
- Procycling and Sports-livez have links to live coverage from 10:00 CEST/18:00 Aus/09:00 BST
- Australia: Live on SBS and online on CyclingCentral from 19:00
- UK: Highlights from 08:30, then live from 10:00 on British Eurosport; Live on the BBC red button and website from 10am; Highlights at 16:00 and 21:30
- Europe: Live on Eurosport from 11:00
- Belgium: There's some of it on Sporza, but I'm not sure if it's live
- Netherlands: Highlights programme at 22:40 and 23:40 on NOS
- USA: Unisports is showing highlights on 14th April at 12 noon and 5pm, and 8pm & 11pm on 15th
Next - what will you be watching?
The schedule of racing can be found on the race website - and the big events of the day will be the men's Team Pursuit, women's and men's Team Sprint and the men's scratch race.
In the women's team sprint, the big favourite is the home team of Anna Meares and Kaarle McCulloch, and their main rivals, Great Britain's Vicky Pendleton and Jess Varnish. But watch out for the Germans and the Chinese, too!
In the men's team sprint, it's not so simple - Australia and GB are big names, but Germany and France are just as strong, so it could depend on who's been picked in which role, and how the nerves are.
The men's team pursuit is another interesting one - Australia won the Track World Cup, but they did it by coming second in three of the rounds, only winning the final one in London. The New Zealanders won in Cali, and the Russians in Astana and Beijing - while GB only fielded their strongest team in London, where they came second. My bet is on the Aussies - they've been experimenting with different members of their team all season, and it's their home velodrome, so they'll be exceptionally hard to beat - although those other three nations will give it a try!
The men's scratch was only raced twice in World Cups this season - won by Gijs van Hoecke (Bel) in Astana and Kirill Sveshnikov (Rus) in Beijing - but tomorrow my bets on looking at the startlist are Elia Viviani (Ita) or Ben Swift (GBr) - although I'm usually wrong!
Should be a great day - and the atmosphere will be electric, those Australians adore their track! Here's to safe, exhilarating cycling!