There can be few events of any sport that can boast the richness of Olympic medalists that were on display at Saturday night’s Revolution track meeting in Manchester.
The event sold out long before the doors opened on Saturday evening as the crowds poured into the velodrome to watch Olympic champions and international road stars perform in a packed racing programme.
Australian track and road star chose the Revolution meet to officially mark his retirement, taking part in his last ever race. McGee’s CSC-Saxo Bank team-mate and compatriot Stuart O’Grady was also there taking part in the night’s racing and celebrations.
One of the highlights of the evening set out to answer the question: who’s best, pursuiters or sprinters? The organisers put together a three-up 750m flying sprint that pit Olympic team pursuiters Ed Clancy, Geraint Thomas and Steven Burke against their sprint counterparts Jamie Staff, Ross Edgar and Jason Kenny.
It was the endurance pursuiters that came out on top, assisted by the crowds, whipped up into a frenzy by Rob Hayles at the track side.
BELLIS TO JOIN GB WORLDS TEAM PURSUIT SQUAD
It wasn’t just the established stars in attendance, future Olympic champions were also there for the crowds. One such rising star is Jonathan Bellis, riding in the CSC-Saxo Bank colours.
Bellis told Cycling Weekly that he plans to base himself in Manchester rather than his native Isle of Man for the 2009 season. He will therefore be easily available for training and selection for a place with the GB squad for the World Track Championships in Poland at the end of March 2009.
The aim is to being placed in the team pursuit quartet. With Paul Manning having retired and Bradley Wiggins following a road programme for 2009, the opportunities are available for new faces to make the team.
CRAMPTON, CLANCY AND BURKE ON FORM
Sprinter Matt Crampton had his moment coming out victorious in both the sprint and the keirin competitions. The ever-popular 1km Madison TT was won by Clancy and Burke in the second best time ever recorded for the event, only bettered Chris Hoy and Arnaud Tournant in last season’s Revolution series.
Other events over the evening included the DHL Future Stars omnium events for both boys and girls which will see a new Future Star crowned at the end of the series to follow in the wheels of past winners such as Burke and Alex Greenfield who were seen on the podium at the recent World Cup event in Manchester.
Photos by Andy Jones