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UCI 'very very concerned' Rio velodrome won't be complete on time

Multiple test events cancelled as contruction overruns on jewel in Rio's cycling crown...

The UCI’s president has said that he is 'very, very concerned' about the upcoming Rio Olympic Games - given that the velodrome is still not complete and ready for testing, despite overrunning by months.

Brian Cookson said that ‘the progress still seems to be incredibly slow’, with multiple test events cancelled.

In March we reported how the track cycling test event in Rio was postponed for a second time due to problems laying the wooden track in the velodrome.

And back in January we reported how organisers called off the Aquece Rio International Track Cycling Challenge, which was due to be the first competition staged in the Rio Olympic Velodrome, and was initially supposed to be held between March 18 and 20.

Three months before, this move already sparked fears the facilities will not be ready in time for the Olympic Games this summer.

At the time it was rescheduled for between April 29 and May 1, as the velodrome’s construction has lagged behind other works for the Games.

But organisers have now said that this weekend’s event will not he held.

Many of the cycling venues are ready, including the BMX and mountain bike courses, but Cookson told the Daily Mail the $43 million velodrome was the most crucial component.

“I'm very unhappy about that,” he said. “We now believe we don't have any time for any proper test events and that's very, very worrying.

“I want to encourage our friends in Rio to live up to the commitment that they've made and have the venue finished and operational - fully - several weeks before the Games.

“The test event was due for the end of March and was cancelled, and we had previous plans before that put back as well.”

“We talked about a training weekend at the end of June but now we understand there are problems with that as well. All of these things are very, very worrying.”

The velodrome is intended to be part of the Olympic legacy programme, and boost South American cycling for years to come.

“We are very concerned that the major flagship of our sport will be properly presented,” Cookson said.

“I know the people in Rio are passionate and enthusiastic about sport and I'm sure we're going to have a great Olympic Games,” he added hopefully.

Mario Andrada, a spokesman for Rio 2016, said he was sure the venue would be ready for the Olympics, which begin on the 5 August, with track cycling is scheduled for 11-16 August.

Andrada said the velodrome would be “fully ready” by 31 May, in time for a smaller training and testing event on 25-27 June.


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ridein | 7 years ago

Why worry about the time schedule? The Zika virus will probably force the Olympics to be delayed.

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