London site for new velodrome

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The Independent Online

Cycling's vital role in the battle for a thumbs-up from the International Olympic Council was reconfirmed yesterday when the Greater London Authority announced the creation of a new velodrome and other cycling facilities in the Lower Lee Valley in north-east London.

Cycling's vital role in the battle for a thumbs-up from the International Olympic Council was reconfirmed yesterday when the Greater London Authority announced the creation of a new velodrome and other cycling facilities in the Lower Lee Valley in north-east London.

Timed to coincide with the arrival of the IOC in London yesterday, the velodrome will be the centrepiece of a "velopark" due to be built regardless of the success of the Olympic bid.

However, the announcement of the construction of the United Kingdom's third 250-metre indoor velodrome, together with an outdoor speedway circuit and courses for mountain biking and BMX, is clearly designed to be part of the GLA strategy to convince the IOC that - as Mayor Ken Livingstone said - "the bid is legacy-led."

The IOC will be reminded again that cycling is one of the top four Olympic sports in Britain if a expected visit by the committee to the nearby Eastway cycling circuit tomorrow is confirmed.

To be built at the north end of the proposed Olympic park, the velodrome is initially designed to seat 1,500, but the GLA says that could be upgraded to four times that size "in an Olympic scenario." Estimates of costs are currently around the £22m mark. The GLA is hoping cycling will make a further contribution to the IOC's decision-making when the Tour de France announce some time this spring which city has been selected for the start of the 2007 race.

Alasdair Fotheringham writes for Cycling Weekly

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