GB riders look for Olympic boost

Sir Chris Hoy

Hoy did not get much track time at the European Championships last month

Great Britain’s track cyclists will look to boost their Olympic credentials and earn qualification points when the World Cup series begins in Kazakhstan.

A team of nine will compete in Astana from Friday in the first of four rounds that conclude with the London test event in February.

Sir Chris Hoy and Jason Queally are among the sprinters, while Ed Clancy and Dani King race the omnium.

Britain won seven gold medals at last month’s European Championships.

The British team is focusing on the sprints in Astana, with the team pursuit being targeted in the later rounds of the World Cup.

Hoy was not among the winners in Rotterdam as he had to pull out with a chest infection, and the four-time Olympic champion will be keen to rediscover the form that recently won him the national title.

Matt Crampton, who won the keirin title at the European Championships, is keen to boost his case for Olympic selection, knowing that under the new selection rules for 2012 each team can only take one rider for the keirin and three riders for the team sprint.

“It just puts bigger emphasis on these championships, and on the Worlds,” he told British Cycling’s website.

“It’s a big change; it’s changed the whole way the GB team operate. There’s nobody here for the madison, nor the points race. It’s just Olympic disciplines. It’s so cut throat.”

Welsh rider Becky James will race the sprint, keirin and team sprint alongside Jess Varnish, and is highly motivated after missing out on selection for the European Championships.

“Just before the British Championships I was ill, was forced to take a lot of rest and it did me good,” said James. “It seems the more rest I get, the faster I go.

“Before flying out to Kazakhstan I completed a solid week of training and I feel like I’m back on it. Another week of rest, then some training on the track in Kazakhstan will do me good.”

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