Plovdiv in Bulgaria is poised to host the European Cycling Union (UEC) Elite Track European Championships, with five days of competition scheduled to begin tomorrow.
Competition will take place at the Kolodruma velodrome, which was completed in 2015 and is considered one of the largest in the Balkans.
UEC President Rocco Cattaneo thanked the Organising Committee for its efforts to ensure the event could take place amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Cattaneo highlighted that the event will be viewed across Europe due to live television coverage.
“The Elite Track European Championships are one of the highlights in our calendar with an event that all the cycling world will be watching with interest, also thanks to the extensive live television coverage that will be shown all over Europe,” Cattaneo said.
“The location will be unique, in the brand new Plovdiv velodrome, a flagship European sports facility.
“These Championships will not only just be about sport, since they will be held in a UNESCO World Heritage city, demonstrating that sport, tourism and culture all work together in harmony.
“I would like to thank the Organising Committee lead by the new Bulgarian Cycling Federation and its President Dragomir Kousov and all the management team, the City of Plovdiv and its Mayor Zdravko Dimitorv as well as its Deputy George Titukov, the Sports Minister and the Minister Krasen Kralev, who have supported this major event right from the beginning.
“I would also like to offer special thanks to the volunteers, in such a difficult world health situation, who have been working for a long time with strength and passion to organise the best possible event, that without doubt will be an enormous success.”
The five-day event will see 22 European titles claimed, split evenly between men and women.
The European Championships will mark the start of the new competitive track season in the build-up to Tokyo 2020, following the postponement of the Olympic Games to 2021.
Olympic champions Laura Kenny, Elinor Barker and Katie Archibald will lead Britain’s challenge at the Championships, with the trio having formed part of victorious team pursuit squad at Rio 2016.
Four-time Olympic champion Kenny will hope to add to her extensive medal haul at the European Championships, having won 13 gold and two silver medals at the event to date in her career.
Italy will hope to challenge the British team, with their line-up expected to include Letizia Paternoster, Vittoria Guazzini and Maria Giulia Confalonieri.
Confalonieri will head into the European Championships as the defending champion in the women’s points race.
Russia will be the favourites in the women’s sprint events, with their squad including Daria Shmeleva and Anastasiia Voinova.
The duo won the team sprint last year, with Voinova also topping the podium in the individual event.
Reigning men’s scratch race champion Sebastian Mora will be among the participants at the Championships.
He will be expected to team up with Albert Torres in the men’s madison event, with the Spanish duo having won silver at the 2018 World Championships.
Britain’s team includes Matthew Walls and Oliver Wood, with Portugal expected to field Ivo and Rui Oliveira.
Competition will last until November 15.