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Track cycling test events in Rio postponed due to unlaid track

Fears grow that Olympic velodrome may not be completed in time for summer Games

Track cycling test events in Rio have been postponed due to unlaid track at the velodrome, sparking fears the facilities will not be ready in time for the Olympic Games this summer.

The Aquece Rio International Track Cycling Challenge is due to be the first competition staged in the Rio Olympic Velodrome, and was initially supposed to be held between March 18 and 20.

It will however now be scheduled for between April 29 and May 1, as the velodrome’s construction has lagged behind other works for the Games, according to Inside The Games.

Organisers claimed that the velodrome was 76 per cent complete in December.

“Rio 2016 and the International Cycling Union (UCI) look forward to an exciting test event and will continue to work closely together in the preparation and planning for both the test event and the Olympic and Paralympic Games,” Rio 2016 said in a statement.

“There is no impact on the Games-time competitions, with Olympic track cycling taking place from 11-16 August and Paralympic track cycling from 8-11 September.”

Just this week, Rio de Janeiro cancelled the construction contract for the Olympic Tennis Centre, less than seven months before the start of the Games.

Recently we reported how Olympic BMX hopefuls refused to ride a test event for the Rio 2016 Olympics, saying that the course was unsafe.

Liam Phillips, Britain's BMX Supercross double World Cup winner, was one of several riders to decide not to compete, saying that some of the jumps were too dangerous.

He wrote on instagram:  "We shouldn't have to 'race' on such sub-standard tracks."

Philips said: "Although I feel the sport took a step backwards with the riders refusing to ride, it was extremely necessary for the riders' safety.

"We, more than anyone else, want a platform to showcase the sport of BMX."

The course was designed by Tom Ritzenthaler, who designed the last two Olympic courses in Beijing and London.

Phillips lost out at the 2012 London Games. He got a great start but fell away after one of his feet unclipped and was caught up in a crash as he drifted back through the field.

“I've defied all expectation to be here let alone be a contender, so I should be pleased with my performance even though I’m disappointed now,” he reflected at the time.

“It was the best start of my life, and that’s what you aim to do at the Olympics. But I overshot the second jump, and probably my first too - that’s how fast I came out of the gate.”

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.

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