Sir Chris Hoy said he believes the next generation of cycling champions can come from Scotland, as he took the first lap of the Commonwealth Games velodrome named in his honour.
Britain’s most successful Olympian was at the venue in the east end of Glasgow for the first time since its completion.
Along with the National Indoor Sports Arena, the velodrome officially opens on Friday, but Sir Chris was allowed in early to try out the 250m timber track. With a 2,500 capacity that can be extended to 4,000 for a major event, it is the only indoor track in Scotland, something Sir Chris believes is key to the development of future athletes.
“To have this facility here now in Scotland, it guarantees the future of track cycling for the country because until this point we’ve only had Meadowbank and Caird Park and they are both outdoor tracks, so as soon as it rains you can’t use them,” he said. “Through the winter months, they are shut and that means young athletes getting into the sport don’t get the chance to progress, and the guys at the elite level can’t train for the full year.
“But having this velodrome means that we now have a chance to really develop the sport, to host major championships, to train future champions and to let school kids and club-level cyclists try it out.”
Since winning his sixth Olympic gold medal at London 2012, the 36-year-old has said he wants to compete at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, but will wait to see if he stays injury-free at the top of the sport before making a decision.
Outside the 2014 Games, the entire £113 million development will be known as the Emirates Arena after a sponsorship deal was agreed last week.