Racing News

Lord Coe visits Manchester Velodrome

Lord Coe and BMX star Shanaze Reade at the Manchester Velodrome

Lord Coe paid a visit to British Cycling today as part of his London 2012 legacy tour of the north west.

The London 2012 Organising Committee (Locog) chairman took to two wheels, joining the Great Britain cycling team in a track session and meeting coaches and athletes to learn about Manchester’s role in the squad’s preparations for London 2012.

Accompanied by three-time world BMX champion Shanaze Reade, Lord Coe also had a glimpse of the National Indoor BMX Arena which is being built next to the Manchester Velodrome.

Once complete, the arena aims to be an important legacy of the Games, seeking to attract over 120,000 elite and recreational users, as well as becoming an important community facility for local schools and cycling clubs.

“It is a pleasure to be here today to see first-hand how the region is making the most of the London 2012 opportunities,” said Lord Coe, who won 1500m gold at the 1980 and 1984 Olympics.

“From winning 2012 Games contracts, to training Team GB and Paralympics GB athletes and equipping people with the skills to become a London 2012 Games Maker in-venue volunteer and find employment, the north west is striking gold on many fronts already.

“The success of the National Cycling Centre at the Manchester Velodrome as an elite and community facility is predicated on hard work of all the partners and delivery on the shared vision that sport matters. 

“Team GB and Paralympics GB medal success at the Beijing 2008 Games helped create the seismic shift in UK public opinion of the London 2012 Games as people looked forward to hosting such endeavors on home soil.

“Cycling success also gave much confidence to the team at Locog to push on and deliver new world class arenas for further sporting triumphs.”

British Cycling and Manchester City Council marked the occasion by signing a Memorandum of Understanding, a ten year agreement outlining the city’s continued commitment to cycling with the aims of developing a joint strategy for performance, participation, events, facilities and grass-roots projects across all cycling disciplines.

British Cycling chief executive Ian Drake added: “British Cycling and its elite success are a perfect example of what Olympic legacy is all about.

“Our dominance on the world’s performance stage at Olympic level has attracted new public and private sector funding, enabling us to build an organisation that can effectively drive participation in its sport.

“Since we moved to Manchester in 1994, the city has played a vital part in the transformation of our sport.

“Today’s signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Manchester City Council shows our long-term commitment to the city and both the Velodrome and the new Indoor BMX Arena will be the training base for the GB Cycling Team in the build up to London 2012 and the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.”

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