Plan ahead

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The pounds 9m velodrome in Manchester was opened in 1994 by the Princess Royal and will be the cycling venue for the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Later this month it hosts the 1996 World Track Cycling Championships.

Made of Siberian pine, the main track measures 250 metres in length and is Britain's first purpose-built indoor racing track.

The competition consists of 12 track disciplines for men and women. Highly charged sprinting and sapping pursuit races will all feature in addition to points racing. For the first time nations will have to qualify via the World Cup Series which concludes in June. As hosts Britain receive automatic entry to the event. The rest of the line-up is likely to feature competitors from as far afield as Argentina, Netherlands and Trinidad.

The recent successes of Chris Boardman, (in the Tour de France and the Olympic Games) and his continuing rivalry with Graeme Obree have increased demand for tickets.

Chris Boardman will be attempting to consolidate his position as Britain's premier cyclist while Obree will be eager to defend his 4,000 metres title after a disappointing Olympics. Tickets are now selling fast for the first two days of competition, when Obree and Boardman are likely to race one another.

In addition to this intriguing domestic battle, the event will also feature many of the world's finest cyclists fresh from Olympic successes.