Olympics: 2012 cycling velodrome opens

Track becomes first venue to be completed

Sir Chris Hoy believes cycling records could tumble at next year’s summer Olympics after joining a group of riders who tested the newly completed velodrome track in London on Tuesday.


Four-time Olympic champion Hoy was joined for an early morning ride at the east London venue by fellow Beijing gold medallists Victoria Pendleton and Jason Kenny as well as a clutch of British sprint stars. After gaining first-hand experience of the track, Hoy declared himself impressed with the 6,000-capacity velodrome which is notable for its dramatic sweeping roof.

“It is a special venue,” he told Sky Sports News. “I was part of a panel that chose the design team to make sure that cyclists got what they wanted from the facility. “Everything we asked for we got and I think they have delivered the best velodrome in the world. “It is an incredible design. The track is very smooth and quick and, with the right conditions, you might see some world records broken here.” Hoy is hoping that the Olympics will showcase British cycling to a wider audience following the team’s superb showing in Beijing four years ago.

“It is a chance to show what we can do with home advantage. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I am really looking forward to it,” he said. Building work on the velodrome began in March 2009 and Tuesday marked the formal handover of the venue from Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) to the London 2012 organisers.

London 2012 chairman Lord Coe described the centre as “a stunning venue built for champions”. The velodrome track – which officials are billing as potentially the fastest in the world – was built with Siberian pine. A team of 26 carpenters took eight weeks to install the track while more than 350,000 nails were used to secure its timber surface.


© AFP 2011