Just in time for the Tour de France, York’s new outdoor velodrome will be officially launched today ahead of being open to the public in July.
Built at a cost of £1.1 million, the 250-metre track is part of the University of York’s Sport Village and is planned to be a training and racing venue as well as a resource for community groups and schools in the region.
The venue will host regular taster and skills/improver sessions, structured training and a weekly race league. There will also be opportunities for local schools and community groups to take part in cycling sessions, as well as weekly coaching sessions for under-16s run by Clifton Cycling Club.
At a special preview ceremony today, the track will be unveiled by British Cycling president Bob Howden, Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, and Keith Morris and Prof Koen Lamberts from the University of York.
Bob Howden, said: “Following the success of British riders at the Tour de France and Olympics, there are more people than ever riding bikes in this country. With increased participation, however, comes the need for new facilities.
“British Cycling has been delighted to get behind this fantastic project and hopefully we might see the next Joanna Rowsell or Jason Kenny develop at the York Velodrome.
“On a personal note, I and many other fellow Yorkshire volunteers will take particular delight in seeing a long haul for a home track facility finally come to fruition.”
The tarmac-surfaced track has been funded by a partnership between the University of York and British Cycling. It has 30-degree bankings and is therefore rather shallower than the 40-degree curves of wooden indoor tracks at the velodromes in Manchester, Glasgow and London.
The floodlit facility was built by contractor Lumsden and Carroll, with a track surface laid by Lafarge Tarmac using a special surfacing product for velodromes called UltiTrack, a 6mm dense tarmac formulated to be grippy for bike tyres and relatively friendly if you crash on it.
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.