Britain's much-vaunted track cyclists will use this week's World Cup event at the Velodrome in the Olympic Park as a "learning experience", according to Dave Brailsford, the team's performance director. Some will have more to learn than others at the first competitive event staged at the venue in east London, with Dani King, a world and European champion, left out of the team pursuit.
Competition for places across the multi-garlanded squad will be intense over four days in London – where the World Cup doubles as the latest test event for Locog, the Games organisers – and then at April's World Championships in Melbourne, with the new limitations of one Games place per event per nation only heightening the need to perform.
The team pursuit is the first event tomorrow night, when 19-year-old Laura Trott, the rising star of the women's team, Wendy Houvenaghel and Joanna Rowsell have been preferred ahead of King, who will compete in non-Olympic disciplines over the course of the meeting.
"It is a learning opportunity," Brailsford said, "and we have selected a full-strength squad accordingly." The men's pursuit team will be Ed Clancy and Geraint Thomas, who both won gold in Beijing, plus Peter Kennaugh and Steven Burke.
Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton will ride in all three sprint events, starting on Friday. Hoy has his own selection battle ahead to earn the chance to defend his three titles from Beijing: the individual sprint place could go to Jason Kenny. "If I focus on myself I have a good chance of winning. I intend to," the Scot said.
The 6,000-capacity Velodrome has been sold out for all Games sessions and is expected to provide one of the best atmospheres come the summer. Trott said: "It is a really nice track, especially for the team pursuit. I think it will be quick."