Manchester - Manchester Velodrome

Stuart Street : M11 4DQ Manchester - Manchester Velodrome : Image credit Creative Commons - Andrew Last Manchester - Manchester Velodrome : Image credit Ant Clausen Photography Ltd
Manchester Velodrome was built in 1994 as part of Manchester's unsuccessful attempt to win the Olympic Games. The 250m track has 42 degree bankings and is banked at 12 degrees on the straights. The Siberian pine track is supported by timber trusses 500mm apart. The track is considered to be one of the fastest tracks in the world. It was designed by FaulknerBrowns Architects who also designed Derby velodrome. The velodrome cost £9.5M and was a joint venture by Sport England, Manchester City Council and British Cycling. It is run by Manchester City Council and is still very well used by the elite British track team and the general public. This link describes the construction of the velodrome

Chris Boardman rode an inaugural lap of honour around the track. An international opening meeting was held featuring a revenge 4,000m match between Olympic and double World champion Chris Boardman and Francis Moreau. There were teams from France, Holland, Belgium, Denmark and the Czech Republic. Yvonne McGregor took on World pursuit champion Marion Clignet.

The building of Manchester velodrome and Lottery grants helped to propel track cycle racing in the UK to world class level. Manchester was the only 250m indoor track in the UK until 2012 when Lee Valley VeloPark was built for the Olympics.

Manchester velodrome is the headquarters of British Cycling and was for many years the home of Team Sky. After the velodrome opened, most of the UK top track events were held in Manchester including World Championships, World Cup series, Commonwealth Games, World Track Master Championships, national championships, 6 day racing and the Revolution track meets. Fifteen world records have been set on the track.

Chris Boardman broke the world hour record in 1996 using the superman position. He later broke Eddie Merckx's athletes hour record in 1972 just before he retired.

The timber track of the velodrome was resurfaced at a cost of £400,000 and the work was completed in nine weeks. The work was carried out by ISG and Velotrack, a track replacement specialist. The Siberian pine for the new track was acclimatised at 25 degC to avoid shrinkage. The old track was cut into sections, rolled up and sold off as mementos or for re-use. The track was made up of 55,000 metres of 40 x 40mm Siberian spruce sections, each 6 metres long which were laid spirally. This work was completed by three men in 15 days using ¼ million nails, driven in at an angle on the sides of the sections so that there were no nail heads on the track surface. The track was buffed and the race lines painted. The resin coating on the oval centre of the track was sanded back to bare concrete and repainted.

The Manchester velodrome continues to be the most used cycle track in the UK.

Manchester - Manchester Velodrome : Image credit Andy Adkin
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Photos : Creative Commons - Andrew Last, Ant Clausen Photography Ltd, Andy Adkin