The Izu Velodrome will host track cycling competition at the Games ©Getty Images

Britain’s supremacy in the Olympic velodrome will be put to the test as Tokyo 2020 track cycling competition begins tomorrow at the Izu Velodrome in Shizuoka.

British cyclists have proved dominant at recent Olympic Games, topping the track cycling medals table at Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016.

In the same period, the British team has led the World Championship medals table on only three occasions.

Reliable sources of Olympic success feature in the British squad for the Games, with Jason Kenny eyeing an outright record seventh gold medal in the velodrome and Ed Clancy seeking a fourth consecutive men’s team pursuit title.

Laura Kenny has already secured four Olympic gold medals in her career after winning the omnium at London 2012 and Rio 2016, as well as being part of the victorious women’s team pursuit squad at both Games.

The world record holders will begin their title defence tomorrow but will expect competition from a United States team led by Chloe Dygert.

The US head into the event as the reigning world champions in the women’s team pursuit, after beating Britain in Berlin last year.

Australia, Canada, Germany and New Zealand will hope to provide a challenge to the favourites.

Women’s team sprint gold will be claimed on the opening day of competition, with China’s Zhong Tianshi seeking a return to the top step of the Olympic podium with Bao Shanju.

Laura Kenny will hope to add to her four Olympic gold medals at Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images
Laura Kenny will hope to add to her four Olympic gold medals at Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images

Multiple world champions Daria Shmeleva and Anastasiia Voinova of Team ROC will expect to challenge for gold.

Germany’s Emma Hinze could prove one of the cyclists to watch after winning team sprint, individual sprint titles at last year’s World Championships, and the keirin event.

Women’s team pursuit and men’s team sprint events will conclude on the second day of action, with Britain defending champions in both, followed by the men’s team pursuit on Wednesday (August 4).

The track programme includes the return of the madison, which was last held at Beijing 2008, before being dropped partly due to the women’s event not being contested.

The return of the madison and the addition of BMX Freestyle was largely viewed as being part of a trade-off between the International Olympic Committee and the International Cycling Union, under its former President Brian Cookson.

The UCI had formerly been opposed to moving track cycling competitions to Izu for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, with the city located nearly 150 kilometres outside the Japanese capital.

Concerns were raised over the experience for athletes and spectators, given the distance from Tokyo.