By Tom Degun

gareth sheppard_sarah_storey_07-02-12February 7 - Gareth Sheppard (pictured left), the British Cycling Paralympic performance manager, admits that the 2012 UCI Para-Cycling Track World Championships in Los Angeles later this week will be the last major event for his riders to make an impact ahead of London 2012.

The event, which takes place at the Home Depot Centre from February 9 until 12, take on added importance as they are the final qualifying event for the Paralympic Games.

British Cycling have named their strongest 14 riders for the competition, including double Beijing 2008 Paralympic cycling champion Sarah Storey (pictured right), but Sheppard has warned that his team must be at their very best in order not to miss out on the chance to compete at London 2012 because the world's top competitors will be in action.

"The 2012 UCI Para-Cycling Track World Championships in Los Angeles is simply the last major event for us before the Paralympics," he said.

"They are also the final qualification event for the 2012 London Paralympic Games and we have selected a strong team to maximise medal opportunities and bring back vital qualification points.

"Next time we meet our opponents will be on the boards of the London Velodrome in August, so LA is also the final opportunity for our track riders to measure their performance against the competition and we are looking forward to some exciting British performances."

Storey is one of six British Paralympic champions that will line up at the event alongside Darren Kenny, Jody Cundy, Anthony Kappes, Aileen McGlynn and Barney Storey, who will pilot for Neil Fachie.

Jon-Allan Butterworth_07-02-12
Jon-Allan Butterworth (pictured), Craig McLean, Shaun McKeown, Lora Turnham, Fiona Duncan, Mark Colbourne and Helen Scott complete the 14-strong team in Los Angeles.

Britain will also be fielding riders in the team sprint and Sacramento-based Mark Bristow, who retired from last year, will be a guest rider for GB in the mixed scratch race.

Britain will be aiming for a large medal haul after topping the cycling medal table at the Beijing 2008 Paralympics with an astonishing 17 gold medals and three silver medals.

The magnitude of the achievement was put in perspective by the fact that their closest rivals were the United States who left China with a total 13 medals, five of which were gold.

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