The Great Britain Cycling Team will look to fine tune their Paralympic preparations as they go in search of rainbow jerseys at the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships, which take place in Milton, Canada, between January 30 and February 2.
A team of 23 riders has been named (see below) and the squad will look to replicate their record-breaking achievements of last year, when they brought 20 medals home from Apeldoorn.
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A full competition schedule (Milton is GMT-5) is now available, and below is who and what to look out for from a British perspective:
Dame Sarah Storey is in contention for selection for what would be her eighth Paralympic Games, and she will be defending two world titles in Milton. She goes in the WC5 pursuit and scratch race on day three of competition, and among her competitors will be team-mate and last year’s scratch race silver medallist, Crystal Lane-Wright.
Also defending titles in Milton are Sophie Thornhill and Helen Scott, the tandem duo who have dominated the WB kilo and sprint events in recent years. Following Thornhill undergoing hip surgery after last year’s championships, the duo returned to competitive action with an encouraging performance at November’s Manchester Para-cycling International.
In Milton, they will face the only rider ever to defeat them over a kilo at a world championships, the Netherlands’ Larissa Klaassen, who is piloted by Imke Brommer.
Jody Cundy (MC4) will be out to claim an astonishing 12th consecutive kilo title, while he will also line up as part of the team sprint squad who will be attempting to upgrade the silver medal they won behind China last year.
In the men’s tandem sprint category, the battle for rainbow jerseys is again likely to feature the two British bikes. Last year, James Ball and Pete Mitchell won the kilo title and Neil Fachie and Matt Rotherham the sprint. This year, Ball is piloted by Lewis Stewart, while Fachie and Rotherham are reunited as they try to recapture the kilo gold which they last won in Rio in 2018.
Kadeena Cox also goes to Canada as a defending world champion, in the WC4 kilo. Cox – also the Paralympic champion in this discipline – claimed her first cycling world title in three years in Apeldoorn last year, and will be looking to build on that as she continues her preparations for another assault on two sports in Tokyo.
Both endurance tandem duos – Lora Fachie and Corrine Hall and Steve Bate and Adam Duggleby – produced hugely encouraging performances in Manchester in November, both recording their fastest pursuit times since the Rio Paralympic Games. They’ll each be back in action in Milton, with Fachie and Hall looking to improve on their bronze from last year and Bate and Duggleby aiming to get back on the podium after an agonising fourth-place finish in 2019.
Will Bjergfelt (scratch race) and Blaine Hunt (kilo) both took home silver medals from last year’s championships, and will be in action alongside Jon-Allan Butterworth and Jon Gildea in the MC5 category.
Great Britain can also boast strength in depth in the MC3 category, where Fin Graham – who narrowly missed out on a medal last year – and Jaco van Gass – who claimed road race silver at the UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships in September – will both compete.
Louis Rolfe and Matthew Robertson, both of whom lowered their individual pursuit personal bests considerably in Manchester in November, will be out to back that performance up in the MC2 category, while the only new face in the squad is that of MC1 Sam Ruddock, who is selected for his first cycling world championships after representing Great Britain in track and field athletics at the previous two Paralympic Games.