Rio 2016 Olympic Games velodrome will be ready at the end of June, say organisers

Construction delayed further following switch of contractor

The organising committee of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games has insisted that the velodrome will be completed by the end of June and will be ready for the track programme, which is scheduled to take place from August 11-16.

Earlier this week, Rio de Janeiro’s city government announced that it had switched the construction contract for the velodrome to a new company, Engetécnica, after the previous firm had filed for bankruptcy protection.

On Thursday, the Rio 2016 organisers made their final progress report on Games preparations to the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne, with organising committee head Carlos Nuzman saying that the velodrome would be completed in time. Rio’s city government has said the venue is "88 per cent" complete.

"The Rio mayor was there [via video link] to provide these answers. At the end of June it will be in condition for athletes to train there," Nuzman said, according to Reuters. "The mayor gave these guarantees because he is in charge of the construction."

There have been many delays in the construction of the Olympic velodrome. A test event due to be held in March had to be cancelled, and UCI president Brian Cookson last week expressed concern that the venue would not be available for training ahead of the Olympics.

"The test event was due for the end of March and was cancelled, and we had previous plans before that put back as well," Cookson told the Associated Press.

"We talked about a training weekend at the end of June but now we understand there are problems with that as well. All of these things are very, very worrying."

During its progress report in Lausanne on Thursday, the Rio 2016 organising committee also downplayed the threat posed to competitors and other visitors by the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

On Thursday, Tejay van Garderen (USA) told Cyclingnews that he will not participate in the Rio Olympics due to his concerns that the Zika virus could present risks for his pregnant wife.

"We had zero cases of Zika in 44 test events involving 7,000 athletes and 8,000 volunteers. There is no reason to engage in a public campaign,” Rio 2016 spokesman Mario Andrada said, according to Reuters.

"We don't need to push and emphasise. Women planning to get pregnant have to take extra care and it is up to them and their families to decide." 

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