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New lease of life for Milan's historic Vigorelli velodrome

Site of Coppi's 1942 Hour Record is now re-opened for business...

A new lease of life is on the cards for Milan's historic Vigorelli velodrome after campaigners managed to save it from demolition.

The campaign group posted a message on Facebook, showing the re-laid track, saying that there would be a special opening of the facility yesterday, June 2nd, with two opportunities to use the new track.

500 people can now be accommodated in the stands.

The famous Vigorelli velodrome was the site where Fausto Coppi broke the Hour Record, and its rejuvenation of the 397m wooden track has cost more than £4 million.

As Allied forces bombed the city in 1942, Coppi set his record, narrowly missing a date the following year when bombs and flamed destroyed the velodrome. Later, after an extensive re-build, Coppi’s record was then broken by Jacques Anquetil and Roger Rivière.

It remained an active centre for Italian cycling until the 1990s when it lay forgotten due to a new focus on road cycling.

In 2013 it was redesignated for use in rugby matches, but an intervention by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities saw it repurposed once again for cycling.

Eventually the stands will hold 8,000 people and the semi-open roof will be rebuilt.

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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