Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Glasgow Games on Track; Hoy Hails New Velodrome

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Glasgow Games on Track; Hoy Hails New Velodrome

Article excerpt

SIR Chris Hoy believes the next generation of cycling champions can come from Scotland as he cycled the first lap of the Commonwealth Games velodrome named in his honour.

Britain's most successful Olympian was at the venue in the east end of Glasgow to see it for the first time since its completion.

Along with the National Indoor Sports Arena, the velodrome officially opens on Friday but Sir Chris was allowed in early to try out the 250m timber track.

He said: "It's just fantastic. It's amazing to be here to finally see it in the flesh.

"I've seen lots of pictures of it and I was here a number of years ago when it was just a load of wasteland, and to see the scale of it now is fantastic.

"It's great fun to ride on, very smooth, very quick. So I think there's going to be some great racing here."

Outside the 2014 Commonwealth Games, the entire PS113 million development will be known as the Emirates Arena after a sponsorship deal was agreed last week.

The velodrome has a 2,500 capacity which can be extended to 4,000 for major events. It is the only indoor track in Scotland, something that Sir Chris believes is key to the development of future athletes.

He said: "To have this facility here now in Scotland, it guarantees the future of track cycling for the country because until this point we've only had Meadowbank and Caird Park and they are both outdoor tracks, so as soon as it rains you can't use them.

"And through the winter months they are shut and that means young athletes getting into the sport don't get the chance to progress, and the guys at the elite level can't train for the full year.

"But having this velodrome means that we now have a chance to really develop the sport, to host major championships, to train future champions and to let schoolkids and club-level cyclists come down, try it out and enjoy it. …

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