Track fans, isn't it wonderful? I am already overexcited, and the Champs don't start until tomorrow!
Non-track fans - this is a fantastic opportunity to check out some track, and also spot the form of riders who'll turn up on the road this year... and maybe in your Virtual DS team?
For all of you, though, here's some guidance for how to watch the Champs - and we'll have a daily livethread, so if you want to chat about the races, please join us. The Podium Café track fans are a friendly bunch, who like nothing better than
trying to convert innocent victims to our obsession sharing the love for the track, so no question too obvious, etc etc
So, some details!
Times and timezones
The Champs this year are in Minsk, Belarus, and there's a full programme of events right here on the event website. Timings are in local time, as you might imagine, which is 2 hours ahead of Central European Time, +3 ahead of GMT, +8 ahead of USA Eastern, +11 ahead of USA Western and 8 hours behind Sydney, Australia. So that means the afternoon session of the first day (Wednesday) starts at:
13:00 Belarus; 11:00 CET; 10am GMT; 5am USA EST; 2am USA PST and 21:00 NSW
the second session of the first day starts at:
19:00 Belarus; 17:00 CET; 4pm GMT; 11am USA EST; 8am USA PST and 3am Thursday NSW
What's on when?
Well, more details on the full programme, but in a nutshell, the finals:
Wednesday 20th: men's Kilo, women's Individual Pursuit, women's Team Sprint, men's Team Pursuit
Thursday 21st: women's 500m, men's Individual Pursuit, women's Team Pursuit, men's Scratch race, men's Team Sprint
Friday 22nd: women's Scratch race, men's Points race, men's Keirin, plus the first 3 rounds of the men's Omnium - including the elimination!! - and the qualifying rounds of the women's Sprint
Saturday 23rd: women's Points race, women's Sprint, final 3 rounds of men's Omnium, plus the first three rounds of the women's Omnium (elimination!!) and men's Sprint qualifiers
Sunday 24th: men's Sprint final, men's Madison, women's Keirin, final 3 rounds of women's Omnium
The startlists are here on Tissot Timing - they usually are updated the evening before each race - anything in red has information attached to it, anything white is empty. And Bikes and That has a really useful post of all the women riders who were confirmed as racing there.
The big names who won't be there are the queens of the summer's Olympic sprinting - Anna Meares, who won the sprint, is taking the year off, and Vicky Pendelton, who won the keirin, retired - so watch out for Kristina Vogel, Sandie Clair and Shuang Guo (Chn), as well as Olga Panarina and Simona Krupeckaite. Chris Hoy, the reigning men's keirin champion, won't be there either, but Jason Kenny, the sprint gold medallist, will be. Except sprint and keirin fireworks from the Germans and the Australians and the French if they're there.
On the endurance side, it's not surprising we'll see a lot more of the superstars, including the USA's Sarah Hammer, who won two silver medals in London, former Points race (and twice road) World Champ Giorgia Bronzini, Dutch star Kirsten Wild - and the reigning omnium Olympic champions, Laura Trott and Ed Clancy. On the women's side, all eyes will be on Great Britain v Australia in the Team Pursuit and the omnium - the Brits may have dominated the Olympics, but the Aussies won't that let them dint their ambitions. Watch out for, well, all of them! Ashlee Ankudinoff, Amy Cure, Nettie Edmondson and Melissa Hoskins will set the track on fire, whichever races they ride!
Watching it live
There isn't a guide to media channels for lots of countries, so please add any coverage in your country to the comments - but if you, like me, are in Britain (or your computer is), then the evening sessions are on the BBC red button and streamed live on the BBC website, and lots of it on BBC2 (full guide, including the Britwatch on who'll be racing here). In previous years, streams have turned up too - I'd advise looking in the usual places and watching the livethreads for any streams people find.
Results and updates
There's lots more on the race website, but if you have any suggestions for other sources of info, or questions, add them to the comments - as I say, the trackies round here love to help!