Ones to watch at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Poland

Olympic champions Laura and Jason Kenny lead Great Britain with the Netherlands, Australia and Germany also sending strong teams.

The stars of the velodrome will be in action from 27 February to 3 March in Pruszkow, Poland, at the 2019 UCI Track Cycling World Championships.

Reigning Olympic gold medallists Laura Kenny and her husband Jason Kenny of Great Britain will line up, along with defending champions Matthew Glaetzer of Australia, Italy's Filippo Ganna, and Kirsten Wild of the Netherlands.

Nine-time sprint world champion Kristina Vogel will be in Poland as a summariser for German TV after being left paralysed in a crash last June.

She claimed individual gold 12 months ago, and the team title with London 2012 gold medal partner Miriam Welte who will compete in the team sprint and defend her 500m time trial crown.

Over 450 athletes from 49 countries (nine more than at Apeldoorn 2018) will race for the coveted rainbow jerseys across 20 events in the 116th edition of cycling's oldest World Championships.

Pruszkow, just outside the capital Warsaw, hosts the event for the second time 10 years after its first in 2009.

These championships will also count for the Olympic Qualification Ranking ahead of Tokyo 2020.

Sprint events - Men

Individual Sprint

Matthew Glaetzer has a target on his back after a near-perfect start to the season which leaves him atop the UCI rankings.

The 26-year-old claimed the first three sprint World Cup events and finished second in the London leg behind Dutchman Harrie Lavreysen.

On the eve of his ninth World Championship campaign, Glaetzer is bidding to become the first man to win back-to-back individual sprint world titles since France's Gregory Bauge in 2010.

"This year is different, being reigning sprint world champion, but I see it as another challenge in my career," the four-time world track medallist told Cycling Australia.

"I'm now the guy who is hunted a little more rather than me hunting others," Glaetzer said before departing for Poland.

Team Sprint

The Netherlands have claimed all four of the events they've entered this season, and are favourites to retain the crown they won on home soil in Apeldoorn a year ago.

Great Britain have reached the podium three times this season, and the Rio 2016 champions are medal contenders along with Australia, France, and New Zealand.

Keirin

Olympic silver medallist Matthijs Buechli from the Netherlands has collected two World Cup wins and a third place this season in the motor-paced race.

Buechli's compatriot Theo Bos, Pan-American champion Hugo Barrette and European champion Stefan Boetticher from Germany will also seek to make their presence felt.

21-year-old Jack Carlin will represent Great Britain instead of six-time Olympic gold medallist Jason Kenny, who triumphed in the second World Cup leg in Milton, Canada.

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1km Time Trial

Dutchman Jeffrey Hoogland will not defend his title to focus on the sprint, with Sam Ligtlee and Theo Bos selected ahead of him.

Germany's Joachim Eilers took the only event in the World Cup and was runner-up at August's European Championships.

Quentin Lafargue is top of the discipline's UCI rankings and the Frenchman is sure to be in the shake-up.

Sprint events - Women

Sprint

In Vogel's absence, the individual sprint looks set to be a battle between in-form Wai Sze Lee and Australia's twice world silver medallist Stephanie Morton.

Hong Kong rider Lee won the 500m time trial world title back in 2013, and has won all four of the World Cup sprints she has contested this season as well as two Keirin triumphs.

Morton, runner-up to Vogel for the last two years, has taken the other two sprint events this season and doubled up successfully in the keirin in London.

Pauline Grabosch beat Wai for bronze 12 months ago, and she will try to keep the rainbow jersey in German hands.

Team Sprint

China and Russia are the only nations to have won two World Cup events this season.

However, this looks an open competition with Miriam Welte leading Germany's defence of their title alongside 2018 individual bronze medallist Grabosch.

New Zealand and the Netherlands are also contenders for gold.

Team GB's Victoria Williamson will continue her miraculous comeback. She was just millimetres away from paralysis. The 2013 world team sprint medallist suffered a broken neck and back, and a dislocated pelvis in January 2016 after crashing during an omnium race in the Netherlands.

Keirin

Wai has two World Cup wins this season and she will be hoping to go one better than her silver medal from Apeldoorn 2018.

With one win and one second place, Morton is also expected to challenge with Belgium's Nicky Degrendele defending her title.

Also look out for former speed skater Laurine van Riessen of the Netherlands (bronze medallist over 1000m at Vancouver 2010), and France's European champion Mathilde Gros.

500m time trial

There has been just one World cup event this season with Ukraine's Olena Starikova surprising defending world champion Welte on home soil in Berlin.

But Welte leads the UCI discipline's rankings from Daria Shmeleva of Russia with Starikova third.

Endurance events - Men

Omnium

The event looks very open with six different winners in the six World Cup events this season.

France's Benjamin Thomas has been the most consistent with three podiums, including a win in Canada.

Home hopes rest on the shoulder of 22-year-old Szymon Sajnok who defends his world title from last year in Apeldoorn.

Individual Pursuit

Filippo Ganna is bidding for his third world title in this event.

The 23-year-old Italian joined Team Sky this season and took his first stage win as a professional in the individual time trial at the start of last week's Tour de La Provence.

Winner in 2016 and 2018, and runner-up in 2017, Ganna is clearly the man to beat.

Ganna's conqueror in the 2017 final, Jordan Kerby, is currently ineligible as he has switched allegiance from Australia to New Zealand ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Kerby was beaten earlier this month by double Olympic rowing gold medallist Hamish Bond, but Bond's new national record was achieved after the World Championships qualification cut-off with the New Zealand board opting not to send a competitor.

Last year's beaten finalist Ivo Oliveira of Portugal should be in the running for a medal with 2018 European champion Domenic Weinstein, carrying German hopes.

New world record holder Ashton Lambie of the USA - sporting his trademark moustache - is also a potential threat.

Team pursuit

Great Britain are the reigning world and Olympic champions and lead the UCI rankings, but Denmark have had two World Cup wins this season.

Other medal contenders will be Germany, and Australia who set a new world record last year.

And Italy cannot be ruled out with Ganna in their line-up.

Madison

Denmark have already clinched the World Cup title, taking all four events they entered this season with three different pairs.

New Zealand claimed the two remaining events, although defending champions Germany (Roger Kluge and Theo Reinhardt), Spain and Belgium are also potential medal contenders.

Points race

Nine-time world champion Cameron Meyer is chasing his sixth points race world crown.

The 31-year-old Australian will again face Apeldoorn runner-up Jan-Willem van Schip of the Netherlands and 2018 bronze medallist Mark Stewart of Great Britain.

Moritz Malcharek won the only World Cup event held so far this season, and the German will be fighting for a podium place along with Italy's Liam Bertazzo and home favourite Wojciech Pszczolarski.

The 27-year-old from Wroclaw claimed his second European title last year in Glasgow and took bronze at the 2017 World Championships in Hong Kong.

Scratch race

Yauheni Karaliok of Belarus will not find it easy defending his title.

The list of potential challengers is long and includes 2018 silver medallist Adrian Teklinski of Poland, World Cup winners Stefan Matzner and Liang Guo (respectively from Austria and China), and European champion Roman Gladysh of Ukraine.

Endurance events - women

Omnium

Defending world and European champion Kirsten Wild is the woman to beat having won every World Cup omnium event she has competed in this season.

Kirsten Wild is the defending champion in the Omnium, Points race and Scratch events.
Kirsten Wild is the defending champion in the Omnium, Points race and Scratch events.Kirsten Wild is the defending champion in the Omnium, Points race and Scratch events.

The 36-year-old will defend her title against Rio 2016 gold medallist Laura Kenny and her British team-mate and European silver medallist Katie Archibald, both of whom have a World Cup win this season.

Great Britain's most successful female Olympian Kenny, known as Laura Trott before her wedding to Jason Kenny, returned to major competition at last August's European Championships in Glasgow following the birth of her first child.

The 26-year-old won two titles, but missed out on the podium in the Madison.

"It just takes a few events to get used to it," said the Essex-born rider. "I was pretty average in Glasgow and that was a learning curve and a wake-up call.

"I’ve re-learned and moved on and I feel much stronger going to Poland."

Kenny will also compete in the team pursuit with young Albert travelling with the family to Poland.

Individual pursuit

Defending champion Chloe Dygart-Owen of USA and Apeldoorn silver medallist Annemiek van Vleuten will miss the event as they are recovering from injuries.

European champion Lisa Brennauer of Germany is one of the favourites along with Brit Eleanor Dickinson and home rider Justyna Kaczkowska.

Team pursuit

The American women will struggle to defend their title without Dygart-Owen.

This leaves the competition looking wide open with world record-holders Great Britain (three World Cup wins this season), Australia, New Zealand and Italy among the medal contenders.

Madison

Great Britain are the defending world and Olympic champions and go to Poland fresh from overall World Cup victory in the event.

But they will not have things their own way with Apeldoorn silver medallists Netherlands in good form.

Belgium are also in the hunt with their 2017 world champion pairing of Jolien D'Hoore and Lotte Kopecky.

Denmark and Italy could also be in contention for a medal.

Points race

Wild is the favourite to retain the title she won on home soil 12 months ago, but she faces some useful European rivals.

Charlotte Becker of Germany, Italy's European champion Maria Giulia Confalonieri and 2013 world champion Jarmila Machacova of the Czech Republic will be hoping to give the Dutchwoman plenty to think about.

Scratch race

This looks to be Wild's strongest event having won it in 2015 and 2018.

Wild is also the defending European champion in this discipline.

The Dutch veteran needs to watch out for youngster Martina Fidanza.

The 19-year-old Italian won the last two World Cup events in Hong Kong and Cambridge, New Zealand.

Other names to watch are last year's runner-up Jolien D'Hoore of Belgium and Britain's 2017 silver medallist Elinor Barker.

Competition schedule

27 February

Opening Ceremony

Scratch 10km Women

2018 world champion: Kirsten Wild (NED); UCI rankings leader: Kirsten Wild (NED)

Team Sprint Women

2018 world champion: Germany; 2016 Olympic champion: China; UCI rankings leader: China

Team Sprint Men

2018 world champion: Netherlands; 2016 Olympic champion: Great Britain; UCI rankings leader: Netherlands

28 February

Team Pursuit Men

2018 world champion: Great Britain 2016; Olympic champion: Great Britain; UCI rankings leader: Great Britain

Scratch 15km Men

2018 world champion: Yauheni Karaliok (BLR); UCI rankings leader: Yauheni Karaliok (BLR)

Keirin Men

2018 world champion: Fabian Puerta (COL); 2016 Olympic champion: Jason Kenny (GBR); UCI rankings leader: Tomoyuki Kawabata (JPN)

Team Pursuit Women

2018 world champion: United States; 2016 Olympic champion: Great Britain; UCI rankings leader: Great Britain

1 March

Points race 40km Men

2018 world champion: Cameron Meyer (AUS); UCI rankings leader: Mark Stewart (GBR)

Kilometre time-trial Men

2018 world champion: Jeffrey Hoogland (NED); UCI rankings leader: Quentin Lafargue (FRA)

Individual Pursuit Men

2018 world champion: Filippo Ganna (ITA); UCI rankings leader: Ivo Oliveira (POR)

Sprint Women

2018 world champion: Kristina Vogel (GER); 2016 Olympic champion: Kristina Vogel (GER); UCI rankings leader: Stephanie Morton (AUS)

Omnium Women

2018 world champion: Kirsten Wild (NED); 2016 Olympic champion: Laura Kenny (GBR); UCI rankings leader: Kirsten Wild (NED)

2 March

500m time-trial Women

2018 world champion: Miriam Welte (GER); UCI rankings leader: Miriam Welte (GER)

Madison 30km Women

2018 world champion: Great Britain; UCI rankings leader: Italy

Individual Pursuit Women

2018 world champion: Chloe Dygert (USA); UCI rankings leader: Lisa Brennauer (GER)

Omnium Men

2018 world champion Szymon Sajnok (POL); 2016 Olympic champion: Elia Viviani (ITA); UCI rankings leader: Benjamin Thomas (FRA)

3 March

Points race 25km Women

2018 world champion: Kirsten Wild (NED); UCI rankings leader: Kirsten Wild (NED)

Madison 50km Men

2018 world champion: Germany UCI rankings leader: Germany

Keirin Women

2018 world champion: Nicky Negrendele (BEL); 2016 Olympic champion: Elis Ligtlee (NED); UCI rankings leader: Wai Sze Lee (HKG)

Sprint Men

2018 world champion: Matthew Glaetzer (AUS); 2016 Olympic champion: Jason Kenny (GBR); UCI rankings leader: Matthew Glaetzer (AUS)

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