Burke out to make amends

Steven Burke
Steven Burke
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Colne's double Olympic champion Steven Burke feels Great Britain owe themselves a performance when the TISSOT UCI Track World Cup returns to Manchester.

This weekend sees the National Cycling Centre welcome the global series for the first time since 2013, and Burke knows the team pursuit squad must perform.

A crash for Andy Tennant in the final bend of qualifying for the European Championships, last month, meant they failed to post a time.

And the elite squad then missing the opening round of the World Cup, in Poland last weekend, means the team have not shown their worth on the big stage since finishing fourth at April’s World Championships.

But with the home crowd behind them, Burke is confident they can give their fans something to cheer.

“Leading up to the Europeans the squad was going well, we were just a bit unfortunate there really - but I suppose that’s racing,” said the Beijing 2008 individual pursuit Olympic bronze medallist.

“Every now and again things like that do happen. Otherwise we had good form coming into those. "A few of us then did the Six Day in London, rode pretty well there, and we’re carrying the form through into Manchester and it’s looking promising.

“We’ll give it 100 per cent and whatever that brings in Manchester is what it brings.

“Going off the training numbers it is looking promising and we’ve got a really good team line-up - we’ll give it full force.”

Tennant will be missing from the line-up in Manchester, still recovering from the concussion he suffered in the crash at the Europeans.

The team do welcome back three-time Olympic champion Ed Clancy, however, with the likes of youngsters Mark Stewart, Ollie Wood and Kian Emadi also vying for a spot in the final quartet.

And Burke glad to see the return of the man Sir Bradley Wiggins once called - along with Burke - ‘the most underrated rider’s I’ve ever competed with’.

“Everyone is pushing each other and that will create the best possible line-up,” added the 28-year-old.

“It’s great to have Ed back - he’s champing at the bit at the moment. He took a year out doing more on the road and he’s refreshed and ready to come back into things.

“He’s won so much in the team pursuit that it’s great to have him back - he’s our captain as well.”

But however confident Burke may be in the men around him, it is the strength posed by other nations that has him curbing his enthusiasm.

“We’re hoping to get a medal. The last three times we’ve competing in this event at home, we’ve won - so we’ve got high standards,” he concluded.

“The competition is getting better and better, though, so we’ll give it our best and see where that time takes us.”

* On November 10-12, incredible riders like Steven Burke will compete on the Manchester Velodrome in one of the most anticipated events on the track cycling calendar. Buy your tickets http://www.trackworldcup.co.uk/tickets/