The DISC Velodrome is set to host the 2017 Oceania Track Cycling Championships ©Anna Meares/Twitter

An exciting four days of competition will see Australia's track stars go head to head against New Zealand's best at the 2017 Oceania Track Cycling Championships in Melbourne.

The Darebin International Sports Centre (DISC) Velodrome will play host to the event which begins tomorrow (December 7) and concludes on Saturday (December 10). 

For some, the Oceania Championships represent their first return to competition since either Rio's Olympic Games or November's opening two rounds of the International Cycling Union (UCI) World Cup Series.

Olympic silver medallists and 2016 team pursuit world champions Sam Welsford and Callum Scotson and six-time world champion Cam Meyer lead a powerful Australian contingent in the men's endurance events.

Rio Olympians Ashlee Ankudinoff, Georgia Baker, Amy Cure and Annette Edmondson also return as part of a strong women's endurance line-up for the hosts.

Matt Glaetzer, Patrick Constable, Nathan Hart and Stephanie Morton lead the Australian sprint charge along with three-time world champion and 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Kaarle McCulloch.

Victorian sprinter Caitlin Ward will also return to international competition this week following injury.

London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist in the women's team sprint Kaarle McCulloch is one of many Australian stars in action this week ©Getty Images
London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist in the women's team sprint Kaarle McCulloch is one of many Australian stars in action this week ©Getty Images

The reigning 500m time trial national champion and former medallist at the UCI Junior Track World Championships missed competing at the opening two rounds of the 2016/17 UCI Track World Cup in Glasgow and Apeldoorn with a foot injury.

"Oceanias at the best of times are one of the most important races of the season, with the new World Championships qualifying systems it is now more important than ever," Ward explained.

"For me, it is a chance to race. By no means have I had an easy lead in and I have no idea of how my foot will hold up or if it will restrict me.

"All I know is that I am excited to be able to compete again, it has been a very long time.

"But this time, it has been a different focus - very much concentrated on my ability to come into a race in unfamiliar territory.

"As usual, everyone is out there fighting for gold - I'm just out there fighting to overcome a challenging couple of weeks too."

Fierce competition arrives from New Zealand in the form of Rio 2016 men's team sprint silver medallists Eddie Dawkins, Ethan Mitchell and Sam Webster.

Webster and Dawkins also competed in the men's individual sprint competition where they finished ninth and 10th respectively.

Racquel Sheath and Jaime Nielsen, two members of the New Zealand women's team pursuit squad that missed out on a medal when they finished fifth in the Brazilian city, will also be in action.

The Championships offer valuable qualifying points for February's final two World Cup events in Cali, Colombia, and Los Angeles as well as April's UCI World Championships in Hong Kong.