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Sir Chris Hoy heads British bid at World Championships

Category: Sport

Published: 23rd Mar 2010 12:10:27

Track Cycling World Championships 2010Dates: 24-28 March Venue: Ballerup Super Arena, Ballerup, Denmark Coverage: Live on BBC Two, red button and BBC Sport website

Hoy sets sights on 10th world title

A team of 19 riders will bid to re-establish Great Britain's global pre-eminence at the 2010 World Track Cycling Championships in Denmark.

Sir Chris Hoy leads GB medal hopes in the event, from 24-28 March, having missed the 2009 Worlds through injury.

"I'll do my best and I know when I'm at my best, there are not many people who can beat me," Hoy told BBC Sport.

Britain dominated at the 2008 Beijing Olympics but struggled at the 2009 World Championships in Hoy's absence.

GB also topped the medal table at both the 2007 and 2008 World Championships, but Australia and Denmark are each expected to mount a strong challenge this year.

Danish stars Alex Rasmussen (scratch/madison races) and Michael Morkov (madison) spearhead the host nation's challenge, while young pursuiter Jack Bobridge has installed himself at the heart of the Australian team.

But British riders are keen to dominate once again after their blip at the 2009 Worlds in Poland, where the team finished third in the medal standings behind Australia and France.

Lizzie Armitstead, who won three medals in 2009 including women's team pursuit gold, called on her team-mates to prove the British remain the team to beat.

"I think the competition is getting a lot closer so I don't think we'll be as dominant in the winning time," said the 21-year-old.

"But it would be nice to prove to ourselves we have still got it even though the real work for London 2012 hasn't really started."

Hoy, who won three gold medals in the sprint, keirin and team sprint at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, missed the 2009 World Championships after crashing at a World Cup event on the same Ballerup track, in the Copenhagen suburbs, which is staging this week's tournament.

A year on, he could become the first British rider to win 10 track world titles - referred to as rainbow jerseys - on Wednesday, the first day of the competition, when he competes in the men's team sprint.

If he does so, he will become the second-most successful male track cyclist in history, behind France's Arnaud Tournant, who has 14 rainbow jerseys to his name.

"You can often get caught up looking into the future, aiming for the next thing and the next thing," said the Scot, who turns 34 on Tuesday and who won his first world title on the same Danish track eight years ago.

"But there's no way I could have predicted I'd be here in eight years' time, going for a potential 10th world title."

"I don't enter races unless I believe I can win. I wouldn't compromise my chances to do three events just for the sake of it.

"To get a place in this British team you have to be right up there at world level. To have won these places for the sprint, keirin and team sprint, it means I'm in with a chance.

"I haven't done a lot of racing but the standard of performance has been very good and training performances have been good, so fingers crossed it'll go well."

December 2009: GB mixed emotions at Olympic changes

Wendy Houvenaghel, a gold medallist alongside Armitstead in the women's team pursuit last year, competes in the individual pursuit on the same day.

On Thursday the pursuit team of Houvenaghel, Armitstead and Joanna Rowsell take to the track, while Victoria Pendleton gets her first outing of the competition in the team sprint.

Pendleton, Britain's lone individual gold medallist in 2009, was a beneficiary of recent changes to the structure of Olympic track cycling. London 2012 will now feature five finals for both men and women, as opposed to seven and three respectively in Beijing.

The 29-year-old is targeting the sprint, team sprint and keirin in 2012, and will contest each of the three disciplines in Denmark.

By contrast, the individual pursuit has been dropped from the Olympic schedule, and there is consequently no male British representative in that event at the 2010 Worlds as the team and riders switch their focus.

Hoy competes in the keirin on Thursday but hands over to Britain's team pursuiters on Friday, including Jason Queally, making his GB comeback at the age of 39 having initially retired when he failed to make the squad for Beijing.

When the British squad was announced, Queally said: "Even if I don't make it to London, I know I have had the opportunity to go for it.

"If I'm successful, fantastic. If not, I have given it my best shot."

Pendleton is back in action alongside Jess Varnish and Becky James as the women's sprint competition begins, while Anna Blyth tackles the scratch race.

Both Pendleton and Hoy compete again on Saturday as the men's sprint gets under way and the women's sprint concludes.

Saturday also brings the omnium event, to be contested at Olympic level for the first time in 2012, which sees riders contest a number of different disciplines before an overall winner is declared.

However, the omnium in Denmark will differ from the London 2012 event - there are five disciplines at World Championship level, but the Olympics will add a sixth "elimination race" and lengthen some distances.

No British women will contest the omnium, but either Ed Clancy or Steven Burke are expected to take part in the men's version on Sunday.

Pendleton and Varnish go in the women's keirin while Hoy will hope to remain in contention as the men's sprint reaches a climax in Sunday's championship finale.

GB squad for 2010 Track Cycling World Championships:

Men's sprint: Matt Crampton, Dave Daniell, Ross Edgar, Chris Hoy, Jason Kenny

Men's endurance: Steven Burke, Ed Clancy, Chris Newton, Jason Queally, Ben Swift, Andy Tennant

Women's sprint: Becky James, Victoria Pendleton, Jess Varnish

Women's endurance: Lizzie Armitstead, Anna Blyth, Katie Colclough, Wendy Houvenaghel, Joanna Rowsell

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