NEXT round of the UCI World Cup at Manchester Velodrome (Friday-Sunday February 23-25) has attracted five of Japan?s finest sprint stars bidding for the £15,000 first prize in the invitation Keirin that closes the three-day meeting.

Kazuya Narita, Masaki Inoue, Kazunari Watanabe, Shinichi Ota and Keiichiro Yaguchi are household names in Japan, where the Keirin is as big as horse racing. The event is sponsored by the Japanese Keirin Association.

Inform rider is Watanabe, winner of the Asia Games team sprint in December.

His compatriot Inoue has scored 108 victories in Japan, while Ota, at 31 is the most experienced having finished in the top three in almost 500 or the 926 Keirin races he?s competed in.

A feature of the Manchester World Cup will be track centre dining. Top chef Matthew Barrett plans a special menu with a Mediterranean flavour. Tables are available for a minimum of two, maximum of eight, during the evening sessions on Friday, Saturday and lunchtime Sunday. Dinner costs £50 plus VAT per head.

Full details of the UCI Track Cycling Manchester World Cup event programme can be found on www.worldtrackcycling.com which includes a link directly to the Ticketmaster page for the event. Day ticket prices start at £12 for adults and £6 for children.