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Manchester velodrome would be fifth on medal table

If it were a country, which it isn't. Shame...

If the Manchester velodrome were a country, it would be just below South Korea on the medal table for this year's Olympics.

As of this evening, with NINE gold medals, it would be in fifth place on the league tables, only two below Great Britain.

It was the first indoor Olympic-standard track to be built in Britain in 1994, as part of the bid for the 2000 Olympic Games, which eventually went to Sydney.

But thanks to National Lottery funding and the input of British Cycling, it's been the catalyst for one of the most important sports successes in Britain today.

As British Cycling HQ, all the trackies train there, and it's success is plain to see: medals have been snapped up by Pendleton, Hoy, Kenny, Trott, Rowsell, Clancy, Hindes, Burke, Kennaugh and King.

Anyone can use the Manchester velodrome, or National Cycling Centre as it's also known, and it's set to become increasingly popular in the wake of the London Games.

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

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