Yorkshire’s bid to capitalise on its hosting of the Tour de France Grand Depart will see a new Olympic-sized outdoor velodrome unveiled in York today.
The £1.1m facility at the University of York’s Sport Village is one of the first major projects in the region to take advantage of the interest generated by Le Tour and Team GB’s two-wheeled success at the 2012 London Olympics.
The 250-metre track, which will open to the public in July, has 30-degree banking at its steepest point at each end and is hoped to become a venue for training and racing and a resource for regional community groups and schools.
British Cycling president Bob Howden and Gary Verity, chief executive of Tour de France bid-winning tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire, are set to join Keith Morris and Prof Koen Lamberts from the University of York in unveiling the velodrome during a special preview today.
Mr Howden said: “There are more people than ever riding bikes in this country. With increased participation, however, comes the need for new facilities.
“British Cycling has been delighted to get behind this fantastic project and hopefully we might see the next Joanna Rowsell or Jason Kenny develop at the York Velodrome.”
The new floodlit facility, built by contractor Lumsden and Carroll, has a bespoke UltiTrack asphalt lining and sits alongside the complex’s 1.2km closed road cycle circuit which has had over 7,000 since it opened last year.
Timed to be unveiled with just a week to go until the Grand Depart gets underway on July 5 and 6, organisers are keen to state that Le Tour will prove a catalyst for more cycling participation.
Local authorities and private sector organisations across the county have already signed up to the official Grand Depart legacy campaign, Cycle Yorkshire.
Mr Verity said: “The greatest cyclists in the world will, I am certain, inspire Yorkshire to get on its bike and this new facility will provide the perfect platform for more people of all ages, to engage with and enjoy cycling, one of the key aims of Cycle Yorkshire.”
The York Sport Velodrome will allow riders to get a feel for track cycling and follows Government investment in cycling announced last year, which backed the development of projects including the £29m cycle superhighway from east Leeds to Bradford.
Prof Koen Lamberts, vice chancellor of the university, said: “This additional facility is a clear demonstration of our commitment to inspire activity and to promote the health and well-being of people.”