Olympics ’12: First venue unveiled

London: British Olympic hero Sir Chris Hoy christened the London 2012 cycling track on Tuesday as the state-of-the-art velodrome became the first London Olympics venue to be completed.

Four-time Olympic champion Hoy was joined for an early morning ride at the east London venue by fellow Beijing gold medallists Victoria Pendleton and Jason Kenny as well as a clutch of British sprint stars.

After gaining first-hand experience of the track, Hoy declared himself impressed with the 6,000-capacity velodrome which is notable for its dramatic sweeping roof.

"Having been involved in a very small way in the design process in the early stages, it's amazing to see the velodrome finally completed, and to be able to have ridden on it gives me a feel for what it's going to be like in a year and a half's time," Hoy enthused. "I can't wait!"

Building work on the facility began in March 2009 and Tuesday marked the formal handover of the venue from Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) to the London 2012 organisers.

London 2012 chairman Lord Coe described the centre as ‘a stunning venue built for champions.’

The velodrome track - which officials are billing as potentially the fastest in the world - was built with Siberian pine.

A team of 26 carpenters took eight weeks to install the track while more than 350,000 nails were used to secure its timber surface.

"In delivering the velodrome on time and to budget we have completed our first Olympic Park venue and our biggest milestone to date," ODA chairman John Armitt said.

"The striking architecture of the velodrome and the medal prospects of our world-leading cyclists mean the venue will become one of the defining images from the Games, and a landmark new building for future generations to enjoy."

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