DUBLIN - VIKING STREETVELODROME SERIES ROUND 1
All six of the 2017 Viking StreetVelodrome Series pro teams are preparing for the first round of the Series in Dublin on Sunday 11 June.
THE COBBLES OF SMITHFIELD SQUARE, DUBLIN, WILL BE THE FIRST CHALLENGE OF THE 2017 VIKING STREETVELODROME SERIES
The home team for round 1 will be Team Dublin, headed up by local mountain biker and debutante Michelle Muldoon and StreetVelodrome returnee Nathan McCombe.
Nathan, standing in for an injury Glyn O'Brien, raced for the Belfast Titans last year, winning a silver medal in Belfast's Titanic Quarter.
The unique challenge of Smithfield Square's cobbles will certainly favour the skills of the off-road specialists.
Don't forget which ever Amateur rider wins the amateur competition in Smithfield Square will also win the right to race at the Superfinals in Canary Wharf on 10 August, representing Team Dublin.
Beginning the defence of their 2016 crown, Team Cornwall will be hoping to start their season off with a good result, despite travelling without their record breaking double series champion Jess Stone.
In her replacement will be rising star Jessica Watts. She'll be teammate to regular crowd favourite Matti Hemmings.
The duo's first challenge will be to perform well in qualification, to avoid a tougher than tough draw in the Eliminator round.
StreetVelodrome's longest running duo Anna Glowinski and 'Mad' Dave Johnson will be aiming to win back the Series title for Team London after loosing out last year.
Anna will hope she can capitalise on Jess Stone's absence at round 1 and to grab her first Gold since Stockton 2015.
Dave meanwhile will be looking to maintain his King of the Cobbles title after winning gold on Bury St Edmund's cobbles last year.
Can Team London leave Dublin with a double gold lead on their rivals?
Keen to improve on their 2016 results, Suffolk Saints will line up in Dublin with Canadian freestyle bmxer Kara Gaetz-Bruce and ex-British Champion bmx racer John Stockwell.
In 2016 John regularly missed out on a place in the semi finals by the closest of margins. Has he closed the gap in 2017?
Kara is hoping her core bike handling will see her able to maintain maximum speed in the tight StreetVelodrome corners. Critical if the cobbles are going to limit the top speeds on the straights.
Ranked 6th in 2016 with no gold medal wins, The South Coast Rollers must be hoping for more in 2017.
Last year they scored five silvers and eight bronzes throughout the Series, but not winning a single gold medal was a critical issue for the team.
Their line up for 2017 includes 2015 Amateur champ Rowena Price and for Dublin, local Enduro specialist Jack Devlin.
Can they gain their first ever gold on Dublin's cobbles?
The second of the two new teams for 2017 will be Team Wigan led by 2016 Male Pro Champ Patrick Robinson. In Dublin he'll be joined by local mountain bike pro Sophie Bagnall.
The next stop of the tour is their home event in Wigan on 25 June. What would they give to go into that event with the lead in the Series?
At last year's event in Belfast Patrick won gold and went on to win the Series outright at the SuperFinals. However its his arch rival Dave Johnson that won last time the series raced on cobbles.