The velodrome in Cardiff where Olympic team pursuit champion and Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas got his start in cycling is set to be demolished due to the expansion of a local school – although there are plans for a new track to be installed in the Welsh capital’s International Sports Village.
Subject to the city council approving plans later this week, construction on the new track will start next year, reports Wales Online, and there are also plans for a 1km closed road circuit and bike shop at its new location in Cardiff Bay, reports Wales Online.
But at 333 metres, the proposed new track will be shorter than the existing track's 460 metres, with steeper banking giving rise to concerns that it may not be suitable for all.
Maindy cycle track
Councillor Russell Goodway, cabinet member for investment and development, said: “We have an opportunity to revitalise the offering at the International Sports Village and the new velodrome will help create another focal point alongside the White Water Rafting Centre, the International Swimming Pool and the Ice Arena Wales.
“We are engaging with the key cycling groups and organisations which use the Maindy site and the feedback has been very positive. We would hope to have design works ready to submit to planning by September so construction might begin in early 2022.”
Anne Adams-King, CEO of Welsh Cycling, commented: “Welsh Cycling have been involved with Cardiff council in the discussions about the relocation of the velodrome from Maindy to the Sports Village and are excited about the opportunities that this will bring for cycling.
"Welsh Cycling have been involved throughout the process and British Cycling have also provided technical input. Furthermore, we have been assured of no lack of continuity of use between Maindy and the new facility. We are looking forward to continuing to work with the council's project team to help to develop a facility that will support the growth of cycling.”
The existing track lies between the city centre and Whitchurch, where Thomas grew up, with his secondary school also producing Welsh sporting greats Sam Warburton, who captained the Welsh rugby team and the British & Irish Lions, and four-time Champions League winner and captain of the country’s football team, Gareth Bale.
Others who rode on the track during their formative years in cycling include current Olympic team pursuit champions Elinor Barker and Owain Doull, plus Luke Rowe, his and Thomas’s team mate at Ineos Grenadiers.
Maindy Flyers Cycling Club gave its backing to the new track, with chair Deian Jones saying: “As a growing club with an illustrious history, Maindy Flyers welcomes Cardiff council's commitment to a seamless transition to a new facility.
“Development of the closed road circuit together with the new velodrome will provide a safe environment to develop youth cycling further, and will be appreciated by the club’s membership of over 150 riders all of which are under 18.”
However, Wales Online reports that the proposed new facility does not have unanimous backing in Cardiff’s cycling community, with a petition set up calling on the Maindy track to be retained.
Anthony Warland, who started the petition, said: “Widespread opposition to the plans in the Cardiff cycling community has been completely ignored.
“Maindy Velodrome is well-located, fit-for-purpose and is used extensively for training and racing by cycling clubs across Cardiff. Built in 1951, the track hosted the Commonwealth Games in 1958 and was home to Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas. Removing the track represents the loss of a historic community asset.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.