YOUNG cycling stars took to the track at the weekend for the official launch of Middlesbrough’s state-of-the-art Velodrome.
The Olympic-sized 250m facility is one of the best of its kind in the country and has already proved a hit with club and amateur riders since its completion last autumn.
The £1.6 million Velodrome is one of the jewels in the crown of the new Middlesbrough Sports Village, and was made possible thanks to a partnership between Middlesbrough Council and British Cycling.
To mark its official launch, the track hosted to a regional Youth Omnium event on Sunday (May 8) featuring time trial, elimination, scratch, keirin and points races throughout the day.
Special guests and local ward members Councillors Dorothy Davison and Tom Mawston were joined by Mayor Dave Budd and Cllr Lewis Young, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, to perform the ceremonial opening.
John Mills, director of coaching, education and development at British Cycling, said: “Having a facility of this standard in Middlesbrough is a really significant development for cycling in the region.
“It’s a reflection of the great progress that has been made in cycling infrastructure in the UK, and it’s fantastic that cycling clubs are going to have access to the track and therefore increase the spectrum of activities they are able to offer.
“Enhancing the initial programme at the Middlesbrough velodrome was always the plan, and we are delighted that the track will now be used by a larger number of riders and affiliated clubs, providing more chances for the people of the North East to access a top-class cycling facility.”
Councillor Lewis Young, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said: “The Velodrome is already established as a key part of one of the region’s flagship sports complexes and an important hub for both competitive and leisure cycling.
“We saw how passionate local people are about cycling when the Tour de Yorkshire came to town on Sunday, and just a week later we’re playing host to more top class competition.
“The Velodrome is a terrific addition to Middlesbrough Sports Village and has further cemented its status as an outstanding sports destination of regional importance.”
The new facility was built with a £500,000 contribution from British Cycling and is said to be one of the best of its kind in the UK. It sits proudly beside the 1km cycle circuit and Prissick Plaza, also rated as one of the biggest and best of its type in the region.
Access to the Velodrome is open to those with track cycling accreditation from any indoor velodrome in the country or either of the outdoor velodromes at York and Bournemouth.
Sessions must be supervised by a British Cycling Level 2 track specific coach, with riders required to use specialist fixed wheel track bikes and wear helmets at all time, and the track will also be available for hire by clubs and organisations.
From Monday (May 9) there will be a full velodrome accreditation programme in place to allow everyone to gain the skills and competence required to cycle on the velodrome.
And for those who don’t have their own track specific cycle for the programme, the Council has recently taken delivery of 20 velodrome-specific track bikes to enable anyone to have a go at this thrilling form of the sport.
Access to the Velodrome costs £6. For further information contact Middlesbrough Sports Village on 03004 560550 or email MiddlesbroughSVInfo@everyoneactive.com