Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'Pringle' Passes Test and So Do the Jubilant Fans

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'Pringle' Passes Test and So Do the Jubilant Fans

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Jones

SAY WHAT you like about the Olympic Park, but that place is secure. To get to the Velodrome from the main entrance, you have to pass through several ticket inspections and a whip-your-belt-off metal detector, before boarding a shuttle bus that rumbles you 10 minutes into the belly of the stadium complex, and another ticket inspection at the doors of the track cycling venue. The experience is rather like boarding an EasyJet flight at Luton airport.

But let's not hold that against them. The Velodrome, when you get there, is a beautiful sporting arena. It has been nicknamed the Pringle, for its superficial resemblance to the world's most enslaving potato chip. That really does it no justice. It is an elegant, sweeping building: the ethicallysourced wooden exterior vibes Swiss health retreat; inside, the banked, brightly lit track is surrounded by around 4,000 spectator seats, piled close and tight alongside the riders.

The effect of placing the small but intimate crowd so close to the action, all the way around the track, is to create a tidal wave of noise when the spectators get sufficiently excited. Last night, when Britain's men and women scorched through their UCI World Cup team pursuit qualifying heats, the effect was nothing short of electrifying.

The women went first. Twothirds of the team that won world championship gold in March last year, Laura Trott and Wendy Houvenaghel, were joined by Joanna Roswell, who rode in place of Dani King. The sold-out audience gave them the welcome they deserved. They hurtled around the track to the noise of 4,000 fans going bananas, as they surely will again in their goldmedal race this evening, against the Canadians.

As the British women powered round and round, and up and down the track's smooth gradient, they were followed by a Mexicanwave ripple of intense, exuberant applause. …

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