The 2012 London Olympics moved a step closer today with the unveiling of the 6,000 capacity velodrome in London. It’s the first Olympic venue to be completed, and with 521 days to go until the Games begin, a host of cycling dignitaries attended.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson called the venue a “fantastic theatre of sport,” while British Cycling’s Dave Brailsford added that the site had the potential to be a world record-beating venue.
The new velodrome will play host to a track World Cup round next year but today the cream of the nation’s track riders, including Victoria Pendleton and Sir Chris Hoy took to the boards in a staged training session.
“If you take all the best bits out of all the velodromes in the World and put them all together, this is what you get,” said Brailsford.
“The concourse, the way the seats have been designed, it’s all a great idea. It’s a great track with some clever access and flow from the infield as well. It’s just difficult to fault it.”
Perhaps more importantly, Brailsford believes that the track itself is of the highest possible standard and that in the correct circumstances, London 2012 could well see a number of records fall.
“There’s no reason why this can’t be the fastest track in the world but you need a lot of things to be right,” Brailsford said. “You all also need the right conditions.”
In any case, over a year ahead of the main event, the Olympic velodrome is already exerting its own particular mystique.
“The riders were so excited to come down here,” Brailsford said. “When you’re waking up at five in the morning, not being able to sleep about it, then you know you’re in the right place.”