Wrenthorpe track star set for Olympic-sized battle in Revolution Series

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OLYMPIC champions Ed Clancy and Steven Burke will be amongst the riders going wheel-to-wheel with ever-improving Wakefield cyclist Oliver Wood this weekend.

The Outwood Grange Academy student, who recently turned 17, will lock horns with some of the best track cyclists in the business in the second round of the Revolution Series in Manchester on Saturday night.

It will be the second time in a month the Wrenthorpe rider has tested his mettle in the world’s only elite track league after making an impressive debut for his Sportscover Altura team last time out.

And dad Alastair, who is also his coach, says he can go even better this time round.

“It’s really exciting for Oliver to be involved again,” he said.

“He did really well last time so he can go into this one with no pressure, the only pressure on him will be what he puts on himself.

“I think he opened a few eyes with his rides in the last round and hopefully he can do the same again.”

Wood, who is part of British Cycling’s Olympic Development Programme (ODP), rode in five races last time out and could be involved in the same rides on Saturday in front of another sold-out National Cycling Centre.

He is again set to be the youngest competitor by a distance and other top names such as Team Sky duo Alex Dowsett and Luke Rowe and Rapha Condor Sharp’s Andy Tennant could go wheel-to-wheel with the talented young rider.

The big-name involvement means the pressure will be off the Wrenthorpe cycling ace in terms of winning any events.

But, alongside an as-yet unknown elite rider, he will be expected to keep the points ticking over after helping his Sportscover Altura team to seventh place from 12 teams with 28 points in the first round - beating cycling giants such as Team Sky along the way.

The event will also be the ideal preparation for Wood’s involvement in the Development World Cup, which brings his hectic competitive year to an end at the newly-built Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow from December 19-21.

Although the final event on his 2012 calendar will not be as high-profile as the Revolution Series, it will hold more importance.

Team mates from the ODP, as well as the younger Olympic Talent Team and more experienced Olympic Academy Programme will go wheel-to-wheel as a warm-up for next year’s Junior World Cup.

Wood’s British Cycling coaches will be in attendance to check on his progress and he will want to finish the year on a high over the three-day event.

“The Development World Cup has been his main focus for a while,” said Alastair.

“It will be a bigger event for him. The pressure is on a bit more because it’s against his team-mates and all of his coaches will be there too.”

It has been a long, hard year for Wood in the saddle but all the hard work will have been worth it should he finish 2012 with a bang in Manchester and Glasgow.

Highlights of the second round of the Revolution Series will be televised on ITV4 next Wednesday at 8pm.

See this week’s Wakefield Express for all the latest sports news from around the district.