Velodrome opens its doors
Hoy 'can't wait' for the Olympics to begin
Last Updated: 22/07/11 3:41pm
The 6,000-seat velodrome is the first venue at the Olympic Park to be completed.
Sir Chris Hoy declared he "can't wait" for the Olympics to begin after riding on the finished London 2012 cycle track for the first time.
"It's amazing to see the velodrome finally completed, and to be able to have ridden on it gives me a feel for what it's going to be like in a year and a half's time. I can't wait!"
Sir Chris Hoy Quotes of the week
The four-time Olympic champion was joined by fellow Beijing winners Victoria Pendleton and Jason Kenny plus a team of British sprint stars who are all aiming for London 2012 success.
Sir Chris gave a much-needed cyclist's viewpoint to the designers and architects about what is needed for the venue in Stratford, east London.
He said: "Having been involved in a very small way in the design process in the early stages, it's amazing to see the velodrome finally completed, and to be able to have ridden on it gives me a feel for what it's going to be like in a year and a half's time. I can't wait!"
The VeloPark is expected to come in on budget at around £93 million. The 6,000-seat velodrome, complete with its sweeping roof designed to reflect the curve of the cycling track, is the first venue at the Olympic Park to be finished.
Building work began on in March 2009 and the development has now been handed over from the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) to the London 2012 organisers.
The job now is to install the temporary facilities, such as lighting and scoring, needed to turn it into a world class Olympic and Paralympic venue.
London 2012 chairman Lord Coe described it as "a stunning venue built for champions".
Given Britain's dominance at the Beijing Games in winning eight cycling golds, it is hoped the velodrome will be the scene of further glory in 2012.
Changes to the Olympic programme since Beijing mean only one rider per nation will compete at each event in London.
Everybody will have to continue to raise their games throughout the next year-and-a-half.
The 10 riders from the British sprint team got a valuable chance to try out the Siberian pine track where they will all be hoping to go for gold at the Olympics.
It took a team of 26 carpenters eight weeks to install the track and more than 350,000 nails were used to on its 56km of timber surface.
Organisers are also billing it as the world's fastest cycling track, thanks to a range of tailored features including the track geometry plus the temperature and environmental conditions.
Having seating wrapped all the way round the track should also help to create a crowd atmosphere during events, it is also hoped.
ODA chairman John Armitt said: "In delivering the velodrome on time and to budget we have completed our first Olympic Park venue and our biggest milestone to date.
"The striking architecture of the velodrome and the medal prospects of our world-leading cyclists mean the venue will become one of the defining images from the Games, and a landmark new building for future generations to enjoy."
After the Games, the velodrome will be used by elite athletes and the local community and will include a cafe, bike hire and cycle workshop facilities.