2022 UCI Track Cycling World Championships: Preview, schedule, stars to watch
Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, west of Paris, welcomes the world’s top track cyclists to the Paris 2024 Olympic host venue for the 2022 World Championships from 12–16 October.
The UCI Track Cycling World Championships are back as the world’s top track cyclists arrive in St-Quentin-en-Yvelines, west of Paris, from 12–16 October for the 2022 edition, the second in a row to be held in France.
It’s an early look at the venue that will host track cycling during the Olympic Games Paris 2024: the National Velodrome, which also staged the 2015 Track World Championships.
A total of 22 world titles will be on offer, with 11 for men and 11 for women. While the event will not contribute points towards qualification for Paris 2024, the cyclists will no doubt want to make the most of an opportunity to ride on the Olympic velodrome ahead of the Games.
But who are the stars to watch? Discover more below.
Riders to watch: men’s sprint events
European nations have long been known for producing strong track cyclists, but in recent years Trinidad and Tobago’s Nicholas Paul has made a name for himself in the sprint events. Unfortunately, the Commonwealth Games medallist suffered an injury in training in the build-up to the World Championships and will not be present in France.
Dutchman Harrie Lavreysen is the Olympic champion in the sprint and also won world titles in that and the keirin in Roubaix last year. Currently ranked top of the Sprint and Keirin UCI men’s elite rankings, it will take some beating him now that Paul, his nearest challenger points-wise, is out of the reckoning.
The Dutch are also defending Olympic and world champions in the men’s team sprint, but Great Britain will hope for Jack Carlin – the Tokyo 2020 sprint bronze medallist – to help lead the team to another medal and perhaps challenge the Netherlands.
On the home front, Sébastien Vigier won two golds at the Munich 2022 European Championships in the absence of the top Dutch riders, and will hope to put on a show for the French crowd.
Riders to watch: women’s sprint events
Germany swept the women’s sprint races at the recent European Championships – just as they did last year at the World Championships – and figure to be a dominant force again in St-Quentin-en-Yvelines.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic medals were spread out evenly in the women’s sprint events however, with Netherlands, Canada, and China taking gold in the three Olympic races.
Olympic sprint champion Kelsey Mitchell of Canada will look to challenge the German Emma Hinze in her favoured event, and could also be a threat in the keirin. However, defending champion Lea Sophie Friedrich appears close to unbeatable at the moment.
However, whether China’s team sprint Olympic champions will be up to speed is anyone’s guess as Covid restrictions surrounding training and competition continue for Chinese athletes.
Riders to watch: men’s endurance events
Great Britain are once more among the favourites here, and will have Ethan Hayter – the reigning champion in the omnium – leading the team. Hayter has had a successful year on the road, finishing fourth – despite a mechanical – in the road world championships time trial and ninth in the road race in addition to winning the Tour de Pologne overall classification. Now, he returns to the track as a rider to keep an eye on.
The French fans will look to Benjamin Thomas to provide home cheer. Thomas is the defending world champion in the points race, an event he also won at the European Championships in Munich.
And Italy can count on the likes of Elia Viviani and Filippo Ganna – the latter will be fresh off the back of an hour record attempt – in the omnium and team pursuit respectively. USA’s Ashton Lambie is the defending champion in the individual pursuit, but it’s a German – Nicolas Heinrich – who leads this year’s rankings.
Riders to watch: women’s endurance events
Lotte Kopecky, the road race world silver medallist, could be back in the velodrome for Belgium barely two weeks after her second place in Wollongong. The 26-year-old is the defending champion in the points race, the European champion in both that and the elimination race, and also the 2016 European champ – on this very track – in the Madison.
Norway’s Amalie Dideriksen and Julie Leth lead the women’s elite Madison world rankings, and would be favourites, if not for Great Britain’s star-studded squad. Laura Kenny, the five-time Olympic champion, headlines a strong team that also includes Katie Archibald, Megan Barker, and Neah Evans.
Elsewhere, Jennifer Valente of the USA is the defending omnium Olympic champion, and as ever, count out the Dutch in any cycling event at your own peril.