Plans for the post-Olympic legacy for track cycling in Britain, partly aimed at developing future stars to follow the likes of Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton, have received a huge boost today with the announcement of a partnership between British Cycling and the operators of the Britain’s three world class velodromes in Manchester, London and Glasgow.
As part of the agreement, the hugely successful Revolution series will move beyond Manchester to include events in London, where the Olympic Velodrome is currently hosting the UCI Track Cycling World Cup Classics, and Glasgow, where the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome is being constructed for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
The co-operation between the three venues and British Cycling is aimed at attracting new riders to track cycling as well as uncovering talent for the future, as well as bringing top-level international events to the UK. Besides the expansion of Revolution outside Manchester, it is also planned to launch a number of other events in the coming years.
At the same time, they will work together to develop a variety of regional and national events aimed at cyclists of all abilities aimed at raising the profile of cycling as a sport, a leisure activity and as a form of sustainable transport.
The organisations will also share best practice and collaborate on issues such as formulating strategy and procurement to maximise their use of public money.
James Pope of Face Partnership, which organises the Revolution Series, told road.cc: “We’ve been in discussions with the three venues for a while now. We’re very excited and think that it’s very positive news that they are working collectively, and we’re obviously delighted that Revolution is going to be one of the first events that will be spread across the venues as part of this consortium approach.
Speaking from the London Velodrome where he is attending the Olympic test event, he continues: “It’s a massive plus for Revolution and it’s one of our long-term strategies to create that as a national series and also I think it’s very good for the Olympic legacy that the velodromes have reached an official memorandum of understanding.
Pope added: “The plan is that we’ll host one round at each venue then the fourth round will be at Manchester, so it will have two rounds. We’re going to go to Glasgow for the next track season, 2012/13, and we’ll be in London as soon as it’s available – obviously there’s a period after the Games where the venue will be unavailable, but as soon as we are able to we’ll be bringing Revolution there as well.”
Hugh Robertson, Minister for Sport and The Olympics, commented: “This agreement is a big boost for cycling in Britain. It will help us uncover new cycling talent, host World class events and promote the sport across the country, encouraging the next generation to take up cycling.”
Seb Coe, chairman of Games organsisers LOCOG – under fire today as a result of news it plans to charge spectators for access to the Box Hill part of the Olympic road race circuit – added: “The signing of this agreement is a fantastic step forward for cycling in the UK with the goal of delivering first rate cycling facilities and programmes.
“The Velodrome in the Olympic Park will leave a legacy in East London, and with this agreement in place it is a great step forward to extend this legacy nationwide.”
Post-Games, the Velodrome will be owned and operated by the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, whose chairman, Derek Ashley, said: “This collaboration will produce long term benefits for enthusiasts and cycling fans across the country. Uniting with Manchester, Glasgow and British Cycling will ensure Lee Valley VeloPark has the best start and young British talent has every possible chance.”
Other features of the Lea Valley VeloPark, which will sit at the southern end of the 10,000-acre Lea Valley Regional Park, will include the Olympic BMX Track, mountain bike trails, and a one-mile road circuit.
In Glasgow, the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, named after Scotland’s most successful Olympian who this year is aiming to add to his existing haul of four gold medals, is on track to be completed this year.
While the city may currently be in the sports headlines as a result of the financial problems engulfing Rangers Football Club, Councillor George Redmond, Chair of Glasgow Life, was keen to point out its rich sporting heritage.
“Glasgow is one of the world’s great sporting cities, with a growing reputation for delivering world-class events,” he said.
“We are looking forward to adding track cycling to our events programme when the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome opens its doors for the first time later this year.
“The partnership with Manchester and London will ensure the very top names in track cycling compete in our venues over the coming years and will cement the UK’s position as one of the leading destinations for cycling events.”
The Manchester Velodrome, built for the 1996 Commonwealth Games, has established itself as one of the world’s leading venues, playing host to the UCI Track World Championships on three occasions as well as a round of the World Cup in each of the past seven seasons, the competition switching to London this year to act as the Olympic test event.
It forms part of the National Cycling Centre, which is home to British Cycling and also houses the National Indoor BMX Arena, opened last August. Since 2003, it has also hosted the regularly sold out Revolution Series, which brings features of European-style Six Day racing and some of track cycling’s biggest names to Britain.
“The National Cycling Centre not only provides an excellent facility for elite athletes, but also caters for local grass-roots cyclists inspired by Team GB,” stated Councillor Mike Amesbury, Manchester City Council executive member for culture and leisure.
“Furthermore, the addition of the Indoor BMX Track allows us to offer broader cycling to residents,” he continued.
“This new agreement will allow us to build on our success in promoting cycling while continuing to host major cycling events.”
Brian Cookson OBE, President of British Cycling, added: “These are exciting times for cycling and through working closely with Manchester, Glasgow and London, British Cycling looks forward to continuing to grow our sport.
“The signing of this agreement ensures we maximise the benefits of having three world-class facilities in terms of our ability to bid for and host major events which bring the world’s leading riders to our shores.
“It also means we can provide more opportunities for more people to get into the sport.
He concluded: “What could be more inspiring for riders, young or old, to give it a go themselves by being able to do so on the tracks that the likes of Hoy and Pendleton have ridden?”
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.