Britain’s greatest ever Olympian, Sir Chris Hoy, today (2 October) became the first cyclist to ride the stunning new indoor velodrome named in his honour in Glasgow’s East End.
The six-time Olympic gold medallist and 12-time world champion was making his first visit to the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome ahead of its official opening this Friday (October 5). The facility is Scotland’s only indoor velodrome and puts Glasgow in an elite group of cities which are capable of hosting world-class cycling events.
Glasgow City Council announced in 2008 that the velodrome would be named after Sir Chris Hoy following his outstanding performances at the Beijing Olympic Games that year. Construction of the venue commenced in January 2010, with the internationally renowned designer Ralf Schuermann starting work to build the velodrome track in March this year.
Schuermann is regarded as one of the world’s top velodrome designers. To date he has built over 140 velodromes including the 2008 Olympic Games cycling venue in Beijing. The Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome is his latest creation. It has a permanent capacity for 2,000 seated and 500 standing spectators, which can be increased to 4,000 seats during major events.
With work now complete Sir Chris was given the honour of being the first cyclist to ride the velodrome named in his honour. Afterwards he said: “It was a very special feeling to ride the track for the first time today. To have this velodrome named after me is a huge honour and something that I am very proud of.
“I have been fortunate to ride in the world’s best velodromes and I can tell that this venue is going to be very special. It has a fantastic design and feels like it’s going to be very fast. I’m looking forward to coming back for the world cup as a spectator – it will be great to see the riders perform in front of a packed crowd.
“This velodrome will make such a difference to cycling in Scotland. It will be the new home of cycling in this country and will hopefully help to inspire the next generation of cyclists.”
Talking exclusively to Commonwealth Games Scotland about his plans for the future, Chris said: “To compete at the Commonwealth Games for Team Scotland in Glasgow would mean everything to me and it would be the perfect end to my career. It would actually be the first and only home international in my whole career.
“However it just depends whether I can keep the old legs going for another two years. It won’t be a set date or time that will make me decide or a specific line in the sand that I will be aiming for, it will just be a continuous thing. I will be getting back into training very soon and just gradually building things back up again. I will see how my form, condition and injury status is and if I am able to start winning races again then I will be in with a shout. It will be next year before I am able to have the time to commit 100% to training again.”
Encouraging other Scottish athletes to aim for Glasgow 2014 he added: “The next two years will pass in the blink of an eye and I would urge everyone to think back to the spectacle in London and use that as inspiration for training when things aren’t going so well, or when it is cold and miserable outside. That’s the time to think ‘wow’ we are going to have this amazing experience and incredible competition on our own doorstep.”
Watching Chris ride round the track for the very first time Michael Cavanagh, Chairman of Commonwealth Games Scotland said: “As well as our greatest Olympian, Chris has always been a fantastic ambassador for Commonwealth Games Scotland winning two gold and two bronze medals. It is fitting that Glasgow has named the velodrome named in his honour and that he is the first cyclist to ride on the track.
“We would love to see him compete for Team Scotland one final time in 2014, but we know that whatever capacity he is involved in the Games he will continue to be a true inspiration to others both on and off the field of play.”
The Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome will be home to a world-class events programme including the track cycling events at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. It will host the Scottish Track Cycling Championships in October, November’s UCI Track World Cup and the Revolution Series in February next year. Demand for tickets for these events is already proving exceptionally high with the public allocation for the UCI Track World Cup selling out in just 25 minutes.