The track at the London 2012 Olympic Velodrome has been hailed as the fastest in the world after cyclists took to its boards for the first time with just over 18 months to go until the Games.
The Evening Standard reports that a dozen riders from Halesowen Cycling Club tested out the 250-metre track at the £100 million Velodrome as UCI inspectors undertook final certification of the facility, which next month will become the first London 2012 venue at the Olympic Park in Stratford to open.
The event also saw the Velodrome’s PA system tested, as was a lighting system that, come the Olympics, will help HD TV cameras capture the action in unprecedented detail.
One rider lucky enough to take part in the testing, 15-year-old Emily Kay, 15, called it “awesome.”
The youngster added: "We just kept going faster and you could hardly get me off it. We often compete at the Manchester velodrome but this seems even faster."
The track has been designed by Ron Webb, considered the world’s leading velodrome designer, who has previously worked on those created for the Seoul, Athens and Sydney Olympics, among others.
The Australian said: "We had an advantage because this building is bigger than most velodromes. It was just a matter of making a few tweaks to make it even faster. Records will be broken in 2012 but that will have more to do with the fitness of the athletes and the occasion than my track."
The first big event to be held at the 6,000-seater Velodrome, whose track includes 56 kilometres of Siberian pine timber, will be a World Cup event in February next year.
Olympic Delivery Authority project manager Richard Arnold told the Standard: "It was great to see cyclists in the velodrome for the first time.
"Achieving the cycling federation's sign-off for the delivery of the track is an important milestone and gives everyone on site a huge boost as we approach the final stages of construction."
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.