This story originally appeared in our Spring 2010 print issue.
Will the velodrome go to Hamilton?
Story by Bryen Dunn (from Spring 2010)
Velodrome: A sports arena with a banked oval track for cycling races.
With Toronto’s recent win to host the 2015 Pan Am Games, the city finally has something to make it feel worldly. While most events will be held in and around the Greater Toronto Area, cycling enthusiasts will want to make their way westward toward Hamilton, where a new velodrome will likely soon be built to accommodate the cycling events.
Why Hamilton? For one, it’s less expensive. Early estimates put construction costs at $11-million. But more importantly, this isn’t the first time Hamilton has hosted an international cycling competition.
The steel city hosted the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Road World Championships in 2003. Winners of this prestigious race earn the right to wear a rainbow collar on their jerseys for the rest of their career. To prepare, the city built the National Cycling Centre Hamilton (NCCH). Located at McMaster University, it provides a training centre for the Canadian Cycling Association, and is one of only five nationally recognized cycling centres in Canada. Armed with a successful track record, NCCH partnered with the City of Hamilton/Hamilton Tourism to lobby for the velodrome.
(At press time the architect bidding process had yet to begin and the official name yet to be determined).
While we may have missed our chance for a local velodrome, some Torontonians are already gearing up for the rigorous training process. Toronto’s Jet Fuel Coffee is not only known for their strong lattes, but for their allegiance to the sport of cycling. In the past their athletes have secured several national and provincial road championship medals. Enrico Traini, director of Sportif, is confident. “We are aiming to have three members of our teams participating in the 2015 Games – Stephen Meyer, Daniele DeFranceschi and Ryan Aitcheson.” Riders must be prepped to do various runs that include the 4K-Pursuit, Madison, and Kilo. Training is a continuous process that leads from one competition to the next, with the Pan Am time qualifiers likely not taking place until three
months prior to the Games.
Andrew Iler, President of NCCH and member of the Mayor’s Pan Am Advisory Committee, is one of the most serious proponents of the velodrome development. He strongly believes that having the proper infrastructure will strengthen the level of world-class Canadian athletes. “Since building the Manchester Velodrome, Great Britain has won 20 Olympic medals and 68 World Championship medals.” The story in Australia is the same: since 1994, Australia has won 21 Olympic medals and 89 World Championship medals.
“As the only international standard indoor velodrome east of Los Angeles,” Iler says, “Hamilton will continue to attract cyclists from across the mid and eastern sections of the continent, even after the games are done.”
Looks like the City of Hamilton is making all the right moves to ensure the future of cycling in Canada continues to be one paved with gold.
- dandyARCHIVE from issue 4 aka Vol. 3, Issue 1 / Spring 2010 - You can buy it here or email email@example.com to order single issues.
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