The UCI Track Worlds return to Apeldoorn
The UCI Track Cycling World Championships presented by Tissot are the oldest World Championships in cycling, dating all the way back to 1893. Until 1900, the International Cycling Association, the predecessor to the UCI, regulated the sport, with the UCI taking over in 1900. The 2018 Championships, taking place in Apeldoorn, Netherlands, on February 28th to March 4th, will be the 115th edition of the event, and the first in the Netherlands since they were previously held in Apeldoorn in 2011.
Over 400 athletes from 40 countries (235 men and 172 women) are registered for these Championships, an increase of over 30 riders from last year. For the second year, titles will be awarded across 20 events, with the addition of the Women's Madison last year bringing parity to the programme for men and women. This year will also celebrate 60 years of women competing at the UCI World Championships, from the beginnings in 1958.
The events contested at the UCI World Championships can be broadly broken down into sprint and endurance, with each of those having individual and team events.
The sprint events consist of the sprint, keirin, kilometre (500m for women) and the team sprint. Many athletes compete in all events. All women's defending Champions are registered to return - Kristina Vogel of Germany who won the sprint and keirin, and Daria Shmeleva of Russia, who won the 500m and the team sprint with Anastasiia Voinova.
Rio triple gold medalist Jason Kenny of Great Britain has returned to the men's competition after taking a hiatus from competition, but he will go up against the defending Champions, all of whom are scheduled to race in Apeldoorn. Sprint Champion Denis Dmitriev (Russia), kilometre winner François Pervis (France), keirin Champion Azizul Hasni Awang (Malaysia), and the complete team sprint squad from New Zealand will be in attendance - Edward Dawkins, Ethan Mitchell and Sam Webster.
The endurance events consist of the Omnium, individual pursuit, Scratch race, points race and the two team events - the team pursuit and the Madison. The Omnium changed its format significantly last year, dropping the individual timed events, with riders competing in four mass start events in a single day. Great Britain's Laura Kenny (nee Trott), who won the Omnium and was a key member of the team pursuit squad at the Rio Olympics, returns to competition after having a baby with husband Jason Kenny, so it will be interesting to see how she fares. However, she will go up against a field that includes all the defending UCI World Champions. The women's Madison, now in its second year, will see inaugural UCI World Champions Jolien D'hoore and Lotte Kopecky of Belgium face increased competition as more countries participate in this 2020 Olympic event.
In the men's endurance events, Australia, who won three titles last year, have sent a very small squad as they prepare for the Commonwealth Games in their home country, with only defending points race Champion Cameron Meyer attending. The remaining defending titleholders will be in attendance - Adrian Teklinski of Poland (Scratch race) and Benjamin Thomas of France, who won the Omnium and the points race with Morgan Kneisky.