This weekend?s Sydney World Cup has a record entry of 395 riders as Olympic fever engulfs track cycling.

The race for places in Beijing in August is going to be intense as the major nations bid to get off to a flying start with back-to-back World Cups.

Next weekend (December 7-9) the circus will move on to Beijing itself for the second of four World Cup meetings that will go a long way to determining who qualifies for the Olympics and who doesn?t.

There are 16 British riders in Sydney this weekend ? riding for Great Britain, Science In Sport, 100% ME and ? focusing on the 11 Olympic disciplines.

And tonight, the Dunc Gray Velodrome ? scene of Britain?s birth as a major track nation at the Olympics eight-and-a-half years ago ? will mark the start of a long road to Beijing.

Britain?s riders will want to clock up the podium positions and score heavily in the UCI points to give a head start in the battle to qualify for the Olympics.

Victoria Pendleton in the women?s sprint and the team sprint trio led by Chris Hoy are Britain?s best chances of medals on this opening night of action from Down Under. But the performances of Chris Newton in the points race and the two pursuiters, Rebecca Romero and Wendy Houvenaghel will be just as crucial as Britain aim to make sure of places in two tricky Olympic events.

DAY ONE – Friday?s programme

Confirmed British participations listed. Asterisk denotes Olympic disciplines

Times: Session one 9am to 6pm local time (10pm to 7am), Session two 7pm to 10.30pm local time (8am to 11.30am)

Men?s individual pursuit * Steve Cummings (Great Britain)

Men?s team sprint * Chris Hoy, Jason Kenny, Matt Crampton (Great Britain)

Men?s points race * Chris Newton (Great Britain), Jonny Bellis (100% ME)

Women?s individual pusuit * Rebecca Romero (Great Britain), Wendy Houvenaghel (SIS)

Women?s sprint * Victoria Pendleton (SIS), Anna Blyth (Great Britain)

Women?s 10km scratch race Kate Cullen (


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