The sense of anticipation surrounding the Great Britain team ahead of this week?s World Track Championships is immense.

Last year they returned from Palma de Majorca with a record haul of seven gold medals. Add to that two silvers and two bronze medals and it was, by a considerable distance, Britain?s most successful World Championship campaign.

With this year?s championships taking place on home soil in Manchester, the maelstrom of attention, better-than-ever coverage on BBC television and a pure buzz of excitement means the pressure is on the boys and girls in red, white and blue.

However, it?s necessary to temper the understandable enthusiasm with a measured note of cautious pragmatism. This is Olympic year and for the athletes with their eyes on Beijing, that?s what really matters.

As Chris Hoy put it a few weeks ago, no one will be standing on the silver or bronze medal step of the podium in Beijing fondly recalling gold in Manchester five months earlier.

That?s not to understate the importance of the World Championships, though, far from it. This is a week in which Great Britain can emphasise its position as one of ? if not the leading nation in track cycling while hinting that there will be more to come in China in the summer.

And so the selection of the British team has taken on a different complexion. All the big names are there ? bar Chris Newton who broke his collarbone in training earlier this month and so will miss his chance to repeat the points race victory he had in 2002.

WHEN ARE THE FINALS?

WEDNESDAY NIGHT


Men individual pursuit

Men scratch race

Men team sprint

Women 500m TT

THURSDAY NIGHT

Men team pursuit

Women individual pursuit

Women team sprint

FRIDAY NIGHT

Men points race

Men sprint

Women team pursuit

SATURDAY AFTERNOON

Men Madison

Men Keirin

Women points race

Women sprint

SUNDAY AFTERNOON

Men Omnium

Men 1km TT

Women scratch race

Women Keirin

But away from the Olympic events, this championships is a chance to give some huge experience to some young riders. Matt Crampton, Jessica Varnish, David Daniell and Jo Rowsell are among those who will benefit from the experience of racing at World Championship level.

With an eye on the future, it?s worth bearing in mind that opportunities to expose the likely stars of the 2012 London Olympics are few and far between.

Beijing hasn?t even arrived yet and so London feels a world away, but in real terms there are only four World Cups and a World Championship each year. Top-level track racing is a world in which you get your moment and then it?s gone for weeks, possibly months, at a time. After Beijing there will be just 16 World Cups and four World Championships. Twenty shots at the big time before London?s calling.

And so this World Championships in Manchester is of huge importance to every athlete who pulls on a Great Britain skinsuit. Ticket sales have gone well but there is still a chance to witness the action in a velodrome that is at its best when full. You?ll be able to cut the atmosphere with a knife when there?s chance of a British medal.

Here, then, is Cycling Weekly?s day-by-day, event-by-event guide to the championships. We have got the likely Great Britain participants ? and there is a surprise or two ? and we?ve stuck our necks on the block to predict the likely medal haul, while trying to reign in the expectation levels a little. There?s also a run-down of every British medallist at past track World Championships and of course the television times for those who can?t be there in person.

DAY-BY-DAY PREVIEW

Every event, listed according to when the final takes place, every British rider, last year’s champions and the inside track on how the home riders are shaping up.

Wednesday

Wiggins goes for gold in the pursuit plus the men’s team sprinters take on the French

Day 1 preview

Thursday

Team pursuiters hot favourites, Romero bids to improve on silver, Pendleton and Reade defend their title

Day 2 preview

Friday

Cavendish battles in the points race, women’s team pursuiters make their international debut, Hoy goes for sprint glory

Day 3 preview

Saturday

Can Brits surf the wave of Madison mayhem? Hoy hits the Keirin, will Pendleton reach sprint final?

Day 4 preview

Sunday

Burke goes in the Omnium, Crampton in the kilo, Armitstead in the scratch race as Brits blood youngsters

Day 5 preview

CW?S CRYSTAL BALL

How will the Brits get on? We predict the Manchester medal haul?

GOLD

Bradley Wiggins ? individual pursuit

Men?s team pursuit quartet

Women?s team sprint duo

Chris Hoy ? Keirin

Victoria Pendleton ? Keirin

SILVER

Men?s team sprint trio

Rebecca Romero ? individual pursuit

Chris Hoy ? sprint

Women?s team pursuit trio

Victoria Pendleton ? sprint

BRONZE

Shanaze Reade ? 500m time trial

Mark Cavendish ? points race

So, five golds, five silvers and a couple of bronze it is then. No pressure?

BRITAIN?S PAST MEDALLISTS

Every medal won in more than a century of track racing. From C.F Barden?s sprint silver in 1896 to the heroes of 12 months ago, they?re all here.

Every British medallist at the World Track Championships

TELEVISION TIMES

Please note, the BBC?s schedules have changed since publication of last week?s Cycling Weekly. Times below are the latest published by the BBC. Interactive coverage is available on digital and satellite television via the red button.

WEDNESDAY

19.00-20.00 BBC 2

19.00-22.00 BBC interactive

19.15-22.00 British Eurosport

00.20-01.00 BBC 2

THURSDAY

18.30-22.00 British Eurosport

19.00-20.00 BBC 2

19.00-22.00 BBC interactive

00.10-00.50 BBC 2

FRIDAY

19.00-22.00 British Eurosport

19.00-20.00 BBC 2

19.00-22.00 BBC interactive

00.35-01.20 BBC 2

SATURDAY

13.00-16.30 BBC 1

14.00-17.30 British Eurosport

SUNDAY

14.00-18.00 British Eurosport

15.30-18.00 BBC 2

CYCLING WEEKLY AT THE WORLDS

Our team will be at Manchester to bring you the best reports, comment and analysis from each sesssion. Check the site daily for updates.

RELATED LINK

CW?s Dummies? Guide to track racing

New to track racing? Bamboozled by the banking? Vexed by the velodrome? We explain how every event works. Even the Madison.

EXTERNAL LINK

Official World Championship site