All of the major teams have arrived in preparation for the UCI Track Cycling World Cup starting in Cambridge on Friday. It is the first time that one of the three global World Cup competitions has been staged in New Zealand with 580 riders and staff from 39 nations involved in the three-day meet at the Avantidrome.
The powerful Dutch team were first to arrive a week ago, with the powerhouse teams from France, Great Britain, Germany and Australia now arrived and in training at the Avantidrome today. Cuba, Mexico, Kazakhstan, Hungary and Uzbekistan are the final full country teams to arrive over the next two days with some other individual riders to join their teams.
The New Zealand event, the second of three UCI Track World Cup competitions, has attracted 28 current World or Olympic Champions. It is a qualifying event for the world championships and ultimately next year’s Rio Olympics. “The venue is shaping up and it is quite exciting now that we have most of the teams arrived and training here at the Avantidrome,” said Cycling New Zealand CEO, Andrew Matheson. “There’s been a tremendous amount of work gone in to hosting the event from our staff, and also from 200 volunteers, without whom we could not stage the event.”
“We’ve received glowing praise about this facility here and exciting to show it off to the world’s best.”
There has been strong demand for tickets, with the weekend’s racing now sold out, with only a limited number of tickets available for the qualifying day on Friday. Teams have been met in Auckland and driven to Hamilton, with most teams staying at the Kingsgate Hotel and the University of Waikato. “It is a significant logistical exercise trucking down a lot of gear and bikes but it has all gone very smoothly. We are also running continuous shuttles throughout the competition,” Matheson said.
Formal training begins tomorrow under UCI direction with final teams announced on Thursday ahead of the competition that begins at 1.15pm on Friday with qualifying for men’s and women’s team pursuit and team sprint. There are two sessions on Saturday starting at 9am and 6pm, and two sessions on Sunday from 9am and 4pm.
As well as the five Olympic events of team pursuit, team sprint, individual sprint, keirin and omnium, there will be additional races with a men’s scratch race on Saturday evening with a women’s scratch race and men’s Madison on Sunday evening, which also carry world championship qualifying points.