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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 July, 2003, 21:23 GMT 22:23 UK
Hoy heads British challenge
Chris Hoy
Chris Hoy won the world title in Copenhagen last year
Chris Hoy will hope to get Great Britain off to a winning start when the world track championships begin in Stuttgart on Wednesday.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) switched the event from China to Germany because of the Sars virus.

Stuttgart's Hanns-Martin Schleyer Hall will host the world's top sprint and pursuit cyclists, with Hoy the favourite to defend his title in the opening one-kilometre time trial.

World record holder Arnaud Tournant of France is expected to be the closest challenger to the Briton.

Chris Newton will defend his points race title on Friday, and Britain's squad of Jason Queally, Hoy, Jamie Staff and Craig MacLean go for gold again in the men's team sprint on the final day.

Australia are expected to top the overall medal table, although they will have to do without Bradley McGee.

The world 4,000m individual pursuit champion suffered suspected hypoglycaemia during the Tour de France, in which he won the prologue and wore the yellow jersey for three days.

Luke Roberts will be an able stand-in, however, and fellow Australian Sean Eadie could provide further success when he defends his sprint title.

France have a powerful team, with Laurent Gane, Arnaud Tournant and Michael Bourgain possible gold medallists, while hosts Germany will hope to upset Australia in the men's 4,000m team pursuit.

The Germans, however, sprang a surprise on Monday by dropping two-time Olympic champion Jens Lehmann from the individual pursuit.

The 35-year-old finished second in the recent German trials but has been replaced by another double Olympic champion in Robert Bartko.

Bartko did not compete in the trials but coach Bernd Dittert opted for Bartko after he timed faster in a private test on 30 June.

Bartko will line-up alongside Daniel Becke, who won the national title and comes into the championships straight from the Tour de France.

Lehmann will compete in the Olympic pursuit.

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