Olympic velodrome lives up to its star billing
LONDON, (Reuters) – The 2012 Olympic velodrome proved itself more than just a pretty face yesterday as the Games’s most beautiful venue produced six world records and a gold medal for the hosts on a unforgettable first night of track cycling.
Chris Hoy almost lifted the “Pringle” roof when he powered Britain home to win the men’s team sprint then spilled a manly tear on the podium in the centrefield he helped design.
The velodrome wowed visitors and competitors alike during February’s World Cup test event and it got a worldwide audience on Thursday when Australian Ron Webb’s design proved to be the super-fast track everyone had hoped for.
Unlike athletics, where official track dimensions are identical the world over, cycling tracks have a degree of individuality when it comes to their length, steepness of curves and start/finish points
The 250-metre London track, made with 56km of Siberian Pine and 350,000 nails has a finish line five metres further down the track than is normal, enabling riders to pick a faster finishing line as they ‘sling’ themselves from the banking into the final drive to the line.
“The straights are not short but the bends are nice and long,” said Webb, who rejected the initial batch of pine ordered for the boards because it did not meet his strict quality criteria.
“It’s definitely the best track I’ve worked on.”