September 16 2014 Latest news:
Freddy Mayhew, Reporter
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Olympic and Paralympic champions Laura Trott and Mark Colbourne ensured a golden opening for the former Olympic Velodrome today.
Now rebranded as the Lee Valley VeloPark, the £96 million venue offers people of all abilities the chance to get in the saddle in four different cycling disciplines — track, road, BMX and mountain biking.
The wider public won’t be able to use the world-class facilities until March 31, but top-flight cycling will return to the Velodrome this weekend with round five of the Revolution Series, which will see Trott compete alongside her team pursuit teammates Dani King and Joanna Rowsell.
“To come back here is just an amazing feeling for me,” said double gold-medallist Trott, who alongside retired Paralympian Colbourne will take on the role of ambassador for the VeloPark over the next few years.
“If I can be an inspiration for the next generation, that’s amazing for me,” she added.
The VeloPark centres on the 6,000-seater velodrome, where Team GB claimed NUMBER medals including NUMBER golds, and expands outwards to incorporate an 8km mountain bike track, bmx track and mile-long road circuit.
Welshman Colbourne, who claimed two silvers and a gold at London 2012, called the Velodrome the “theatre of dreams” and said he felt a “great privilege” at being able to help grass-roots sport in his role.
He added: “The rest of the world are now looking up to what we can actually achieve in this country and how the legacy of 2012 can inspire not only the next generation but hopefully the generation after.”
School groups will be able to use the centre from £4 per child and a festival to be held later this year will offer them the chance to try out all the different disciplines for free.
Derrick Ashley, chairman of the Lee Valley Park Regional Authority which runs the VeloPark, described it as a “world class venue which has a community at heart”.
He said believed it would deliver on the London Olympic promise to inspire a generation and said one of the centre’s aims was to appeal to the outside public.
British Cycling board member Dr George Gilbert said: “It is one of the great privileges or our sport that the public can share the same experience as the elite.”
Charles Johnson, property director of Sport England added: “I have waited seven years for this day. When we trace the journey that we have all made it has been a fantastic one to get to this position.
“It is a chance for the community to share in the inspiration of what is probably the world’s best cycling venue.”
The VeloPark is based in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. See visitleevalley.org.uk for more information.