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Geraint Thomas previews the European Championships

European Track Cycling Championships
Venue: Pruszkow, Poland Dates: 5-7 November
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC 5 live sports extra (not available online) on Saturday from 1915 GMT, Sunday from 1745. Also live on British Eurosport

Ed Clancy
Ed Clancy will be one to watch at the European Track Cycling Championships

Geraint Thomas
By Geraint Thomas
Olympic champion cyclist

The European Track Championships begin on Friday and kick-start the run into the Olympics. It's part of the qualification process, so everyone is ready to get out there and race hard.

As you may know, the rules have changed since Beijing with only one rider per nation racing in the sprint, Keirin and Omnium events. I think this is ridiculous, to be honest. Could you imagine trying to do the same in the 100m final in athletics?

It also means that there will be a lot of great riders missing out. In the sprint events for example, the GB guys will have to take a place from Sir Chris Hoy, which is no easy task. It also means the younger British riders coming through will find it hard to get a spot come the Olympics.

I'm really looking forward to watching my team-mates compete over the weekend. Obviously, I will be watching the team pursuit closely. Ed Clancy is my best mate so I'm always aware of what's going on.

All he used to be concerned about was the team pursuit but since winning the Omnium at the Worlds earlier in the year he's found a new lease of life and is in great form. All the endurance lads seem to be going well and should post a decent time in the team pursuit. I'm sure Ed will be up there in the Ominum as well.

Jason Queally
Veteran Queally continues to defy the march of time

As for the other events, the sprinters, from what I've heard, are looking good. Obviously Vicky Pendleton is class and will be very hard to beat. The same goes for Sir Chris Hoy. Matt Crampton has also started performing really well in recent years. He'll be riding in the team sprint, which will be a great race to watch.

One rider in the team pursuit team that might surprise some people is the kilometre champion from the Sydney Olympics, Jason Queally. He's an amazing athlete and has settled into the team nicely even though he's 40.

He has the speed and power, the only thing he's struggling with at the minute is the technical side, ie riding a smooth line on the front and producing even splits. This will come with more time on the boards, but it's very exciting for everyone involved to have someone like Jason in the team.

My former team pursuit team-mate Paul Manning is now the coach of the women's endurance squad. They couldn't have a coach with a better understanding of the event, so I'm sure they'll go well.

I'm not in Poland because of my programme on the road. I'm still hoping to ride at the Manchester World Cup in February. It's not guaranteed, however, as there's a good group of seven or eight guys all fighting for a spot. Competition for places is great for the team as it keeps everybody pushing forward which can only be good.

606: DEBATE
westybeast

I've never been to Pruszkow before, but from what Steven Burke has told me the weather's pretty cold over there so there'll be no road riding in the week before. This means they will go to the track, do a couple of efforts then head back to the hotel.

They may have a roller session in the morning, but that would be it for the day. The rest of the day they'll relax and put their feet up. Killing time is definitely the hardest thing about track racing.

The sprint events will be extremely strong at the Euros. It will see GB taking on the French and Germans, which are arguably the strongest in the world. For the endurance events, Denmark won the team pursuit at the Worlds in 2009 but since then they have lost a few riders to the road and aren't quite as strong.

There'll still be a strong line up but hopefully GB can come out on top and start the road to London with a bang.



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see also
Brits win Euro team pursuit golds
05 Nov 10 |  Cycling
Thomas reflects on his 2010
30 Sep 10 |  Cycling
Thomas pulls out of Delhi Games
24 Sep 10 |  Commonwealth Games
Thomas wins as Cooke loses crown
27 Jun 10 |  Cycling


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FROM OTHER SPORT SITES
Sunday People Sports News: Fine start for Team GB in Poland - 7 hrs ago
Road.cc News: European Track Championships Day One - Great Britain's pursuiters strike gold - 15 hrs ago
Press Association Fine start for Team GB in Poland - 16 hrs ago
Telegraph Queally helps GB claim gold - 16 hrs ago
Sporting Life FLYING START FOR TEAM GB - 18 hrs ago


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