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Devon facility could soon be matched with velodrome in bid to create South-West cycling centre of excellence

Work begins next week on a new cycle circuit in Devon, with funding secured by the local council and matched by British Cycling.

The £800,000 closed track in Paignton will be a 1.5km macadam circuit open to all users, and it’s hoped will boost cycling in the area, with the nearest similar facility in Somerset, 90 miles away.

Cllr Robert Excell, Torbay Council member for sport, told the Torbay Herald Express: "This will put Torbay on the map for cycling.

"This circuit will be available for everyone and will also be a tremendous boost for tourism."

The land is currently used as sports pitches, on a former landfill site. The track will be raised to avoid waterlogging, and protected with 1.8-metre high fences.

It may soon be followed with a velodrome in Clennon Valley, which British Cycling has earmarked as being among its ‘highest priority national projects'.

Iain Masters, of Torbay Development Agency, which approved the plans, said: "Clennon Valley accommodates the biggest concentration of sporting facilities and we want to see sporting excellence in Clennon Valley.

"The money has to be spent and the scheme substantially completed by April.

"The scheme has received overwhelming support. The facilities will support a wide range of sports and attract riders from across Devon, Dorset and Somerset."

It’s not yet clear whether the circuit would be open at all times to allcomers or whether it would be subject to advance booking and only through clubs.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.