The 2013 , a week where the best riders from seven nations battle it out for the World Team Cup crown. This is the second year of the new World Cup format meaning that the final host nation Czech Republic have been handed an automatic place in the final on 20th July.
Round one takes place in Czestochowa, Poland, Saturday (13th) between Australia, Latvia, Poland and Russia.
A nation far short of talented speedway riders, could have named numerous teams all capable of winning the World Cup. Troy Batchelor captains the side after current individual world champion and obvious choice for the role Chris Holder is out after suffering multiple injuries in a horrific crash at Coventry last Friday. Holder suffered a broken shoulder, hip and heel.
Batchelor, 25, who rides for Swindon in the Elite League and is the 2013 Australian Champion, has served his role as the Robins number one scoring well in most meetings as well as abroad.
Darcy Ward who himself has not long come back after suffering a badly broken shoulder is still on top form despite the lengthy time on the sidelines having won his first Grand Prix.
Davey Watt and Jason Doyle make up the final places of the Australian team. Watt adds the experience to the side as the oldest member at 35. Doyle, 27, has been scoring well for Birmingham, however has been under the radar due to his fellow countrymen in Ward, Holder and recent times Batchelor who have excelled around him. On the other hand, Doyle has the adequate ability to be able to propel Australia into the race off if not further.
On paper, are a lot weaker than the other three nations in this round. However Latvia appears to be a nation rising in the world of speedway and could be vital in taking points off the likes of Poland or Australia in their push to go straight through to the final.
Kasts Puodzuks has the honour of captaining his side; the 2007 Latvian champion has made two appearances on the world stage in the Grand Prix, once in 2006 where he scored four points and again a year later where he scored one.
The more known name of the Latvian side, Andzejs Lebedevs, is part of the Elite League Kings Lynn side. The 18 year old has impressed so far in his three meetings and has twice exceeded his 4.50 average.
Maksims Bogdanovs and Vjaceslans Giruckis both 24 years of age make up the other two places in the mostly unknown Latvian team.
Five times world cup winner Tomasz Gollob is captaining his polish side alongside a very strong Polish side with a large amount of experience; look strong enough to be a serious contender for the title. With three grand prix stars and Poole Pirates star Maciej Janowski completing the line up.
Joining the 2010 World Champion is 31 year old Jarek Hampel. Hampel has bounced back from a serious leg break in 2012 and is currently the highest places Polish rider sitting fourth in the standings on 72 points.
With Kasprzak and Janowski into the bargain there is no doubt that the Polish team is very strong and with the added influence of being in their own back yard with thousands of fans boosting their confidence they will be a hard team to stop.
Russia has faced a biter blow when current Grand Prix series leader Emil Sayfutdinov has pulled out of the meeting due to his broken foot. Through the star did ride in the last Grand Prix he felt a break would be better for him in the long run.
This is a double blow in the sense that Czestochowa is Sayfutdinovs home track in the Polish league meaning his track knowledge could have proved pivotal in the result of the meeting. Similar to Latvia, Russia are an up and coming nation on the speedway scene with Sayfutdinov leading the charge.
Artem and Greg Laguta have also withdrawn from the meeting for reasons unknown. With the lack of the top three riders Russia is much depleted having originally been tipped as contenders to lift the trophy in a week’s time.
Viktor Kulakov is the replacement for Sayfutidinov. He is joined by Vladimir Borodulin, Ilya Chalov and Captain Andrey Kudryashov.
The team who finishes top on Saturday will join Czech Republic in the final with the second and third placed teams going through to the race off on Thursday in Prague.