World champions return on track for APL Grand Prix in Cambridge

Road, Track & Cyclocross
Nicole Murray v2

Three World Champíon cyclists begin their journeys towards the Paris Olympics at the APL Grand Prix at the Grassroots Trust Velodrome in Cambridge this weekend.

Seventy-five riders including internationals from New Caledonia, Australia, Mexico, Japan and USA will compete over the two-day meeting that which carries UCI world ranking points.

The New Zealand world champions comprise of men’s points race winner Aaron Gate and Para-cyclists Anna Taylor (C4 omnium) and Nicole Murray (C5 omnium). This is their first opportunity to compete at home since their triumphant performances at the Glasgow super world championships. Keirin champion Ellesse Andrews planned to compete also, but will be sitting out the weekend.

It forms the first competition of a vitally important season focussing on qualification that culminates with the Paris Olympics in July next year.

Most of the Olympic contenders will be competing along with a sprinkling of international riders and the best young riders who competed in the UCI Junior World Championships earlier in the year.

The women’s competition includes world championship riders Rebecca Petch and Shaane Fulton along with Commonwealth Games medallist Olivia King.

The female endurance squad, led by world championship medallists Bryony Botha, Ally Wollaston, Michaela Drummond and Emily Shearman, will be competing along with several riders back from road campaigns overseas.

Callum Saunders and Sam Dakin, back from strong performances in the UCI Champions Track league in Europe, head the male sprinters while Gate, fellow world championship medallists Campbell Stewart, Nick Kergozou and Tom Sexton clash in endurance racing, along with former world champion and UCI WorldTour road rider, Corbin Strong.

There will be tough competition from the likes of George Jackson and Dan Bridgwater with considerable interest in Australia’s Kelland O’Brien, a WorldTour road rider, who is a double world champion on the track.

Murray and Taylor lead the way in Para-cycling along with fellow world championship track medallists Devon Briggs (Te Awamutu cycling) and Ben Westenberg (Tauranga).

Racing starts at 10am on Saturday, with the Rainbow Jersey presentation at 4pm ahead of the evening session, with racing from 9am on Sunday morning and 2pm for the afternoon session.

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