Tag Archives: Olympics

GUIDE: Britain’s best velodromes – where to ride track in the UK

Ride at the UK’s top cycling centres

British cycle racing hasn’t always been the huge success story that it is today and, like many great sporting feats, the results of London 2012 and the Rio 2016 Olympics came after years of preparation, dedication and investment.

Britain’s velodromes naturally have played their part in this success – both past and present – and their place within cycling’s rich folklore should never be downplayed.

But where and when did the first velodromes spring up? Are they still used today? And if so, are they the places where Britain’s gold medalists honed their craft?

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The early velodromes

One of the world’s first velodromes was built at Preston Park in Brighton, a 633 yard long track that opened in 1877. Portsmouth velodrome soon followed, featuring a single straight joined by one swooping curve.

The materials that were used in the early velodromes differed from track to track, as did each circuit’s functionality. While some were built specifically for cycling, others were built around the outside of running tracks, providing extra lanes for runners to train.

Throughout the history of the Olympics, many velodromes were used – all of which differed in size, length and technical aspects. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1990s when the length of velodromes were standardised, a factor which resulted in the reason why today’s events take place on a 250 metre track, as opposed to the various lengths that were used throughout the 20th century.

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UK’s greatest tracks

Although some of the early velodromes may have closed their doors, there are still many great velodromes here in the UK and the number of facilities continues to increase. Just take a look at some of the tracks below.

Lee Valley VeloPark – now arguably the most famous velodrome in the UK the Lee Valley VeloPark, in east London, is the track where Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton and Laura Trott rode to victory during the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Manchester Velodrome – the home of British Cycling (the sport’s governing body), Manchester Velodrome is the place where some of the nation’s finest Olympians have trained over the years. Located near the Etihad Stadium, the velodrome is also open to the public  – just make sure you book well in advance if ever you fancy a few laps!

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The Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome – while the Manchester Velodrome may be home to British Cycling, the Scottish Cycling team can often be found training on Glasgow’s Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome. Again, this track is open to the public, which is handy for any cyclist looking to build their fitness.

Herne Hill Velodrome – is one of the oldest tracks in the world, built in south London in 1891, and for decades was the home of the famous Good Friday Track Meeting. In 1948 it hosted the track cycling events at the London Olympics and it is still a very popular track for training and racing today.

Newport Velodrome – The Welsh National Velodrome opened in 2003 and was used by the British track cycling team for its pre-event training camps ahead of the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics. It has also been crucial in developing a string of talented Welsh cyclists such as Nicole Cooke and Geraint Thomas.

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Remembering Leicester track

While the tracks above highlight some of the best UK velodromes today, it’s worth remembering one of of the great velodromes of the past.

The Saffron Lane Velodrome – an outdoor stadium that once played host to some of British Cycling’s most memorable moments – was a 3,100 seater velodrome located in Leicester. The Leicester track hosted the UCI World Championships in 1970 and 1982.

Unfortunately, the opening of the new Manchester Velodrome hastened the end for the once glorious Saffron Lane track which eventually closed its doors in 1999.

Take a look at the map below to see where all the UK’s velodromes are located and to find out more about which notable cyclists have trained where.

Ribble launched the new, exciting full carbon Eliminator track bike during the 2016-17 track season. Read all about it here.

 

Name Location
1 Caird Park Dundee
2 Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome Glasgow
3 Meadowbank Velodrome Edinburgh
4 Tommy Givan Track Orangefield, Belfast
5 Middlesbrough Sports Village Middlesbrough
6 Richmondshire Velodrome (Richmondshire Cricket Club Velodrome) Richmond, North Yorkshire
7 York Sport Velodrome York, North Yorkshire
8 Roundhay Park Leeds, West Yorkshire
9 Quibell Park Stadium Scunthorpe
10 Long View Leisure (Knowsley Leisure & Culture Park) Huyton Knowsley, Merseyside
11 Manchester Velodrome (The National Cycling Centre) Manchester
12 Forest Town Welfare Mansfield,Nottinghamshire
13 Lyme Valley Stadium Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire
14 Derby Arena Derby
15 Aldersley Track Aldersley,Wolverhampton
16 Halesowen Velodrome Halesowen, West Midlands
17 Carmarthen Park Carmarthen
18 Maindy Stadium (Maindy Centre) Cardiff
19 Newport Velodrome (Newport Velo) Newport
20 Palmer Park Stadium Reading
21 Gosling Sports Park Welwyn Garden City
22 Lee Valley VeloPark Leyton, East London
23 Herne Hill Velodrome London
24 Poole Park Track Poole, Dorset
25 Bournemouth Cycle Centre Bournemouth,Dorset
26 Calshot Velodrome Calshot
27 The Mountbatten Centre Portsmouth
28 Preston Park Brighton, East Sussex

 

 

 

 

Team Ribble: Ailbhe inspired by Rio Games and happy after Euro Cup + Video

Team Ribble-sponsored triathlete Ailbhe Carroll is excited by the Rio Olympics after a good performance in the Malmo European Cup triathlon. Watch her video below…

The Olympics… Where little kids dream of going and where big kids have dreams come true. What a fabulous representation of how sport can bring people together. Anyone following Rio will have come across the picture which was a selfie of the young North and South Korean gymnasts together… how fabulous to see. Another picture which went viral was the beach volleyball picture which included team Egypt playing in full length kit. Brilliant. So many cultural differences put aside for the love of a sport. Brilliant.

Malmo Triathlon

The Olympics, and sport in general of course, have been tainted with doping scandals. It’s horrible to see so many clean athletes being affected by so many doping athletes and nations. It makes you question why they do it. It makes you question if anyone is actually clean. It makes you look at your own rivals and think… are you clean?

My latest European Cup triathlon

I raced in Sweden a week ago and had the most fabulous race experience to date. I travelled with my boyfriend Rich who wasn’t racing, but was there to help me and this proved very beneficial. He was able to do small things like carry my bike box and do some errands which allowed me to rest and conserve my energies.

I also had the pleasure of meeting one of my countrywomen, and now true friends, whilst out there. I somehow dodged meeting Susanna Murphy on many race occasions but when I met her randomly on a cobbled street in Malmo, I knew she was a keeper! What an awesome girl! Susanna went on to finish 14th in Malmo to gain her 3rd top 15 in a row on the international scene – flying that Irish tricolour flag loud and clear. When I grow up I want to be like her!

Ribble inTransition

I went in to the Malmo triathlon ranked number 29 and my realistic goal for this race was a top 25 finish. Unfortunately I didn’t get that and finished 29th but there were so many positives to take from this race. The first major positive was how relaxed and controlled I was before the race start. I have serious issues with eating breakfast on travel day to races and race day morning.

For some reason although my nerves feel fine, my stomach does not allow me to eat and I feel incredibly nauseous before racing. This time round I was able to eat half a bowl of cereal and some white bread with a bit of bacon. I was having weird cravings, but was going to eat whatever I could get down me as something was better than the usual nothing. Big success.

Another success surrounded the build up to the race. I was so calm and collected being around Susanna. Having Rich there as a familiar someone was hugely calming. Race day, although it brought with it some surprises in weather conditions and whether we were allowed wetsuits or not, it went rather smoothly. The water temperature was all over the place. The day before the race it was 18.8 degrees (wetsuit). The morning of the race 17.6 (wetsuit) and then one hour before the race – 20.8 (none wetsuit). Whatever that water was doing I was not a fan! A few issues upon check-in and we were ready to rock.

My Ribble gets me back in touch

During the race itself – I swam main pack which is where I expected to be. But I was at the back of the pack and a trip and meet and greet with the ground upon swim exit meant I was on the back foot. I went from being there to wow – where did she go?! I did all I could and my Ribble Aero 883 which got me back in touch with the group.

Ribble Aero 883 Malmo Triathlon

However at this point the main pack on the swim had split into two and the group I had caught back on to was the second half of that group. Not ideal. The eventual winner who then travelled to Rio for the Olympic triathlon, came from my swim pack so that’s very encouraging in itself. I felt incredibly strong on the bike and my little Ribble rocket was fabulous. Entering T2 I was actually running for a top 20 finish despite the previous events and trips. The top 20 wasn’t there for me this race but it’s all there for the taking once I get myself to stop tripping up over my own feet. The ingredients are there, I just need to get mixing and then baking!

Sweden was a special race for me as one of the main sponsors was one of my own sponsors… Newline sport. They are the sponsor of both Swedish and Danish triathlon and so it was nice to see their flag flying high… helped along by the extreme winds as well! The role a sponsor plays in the journey of an athlete is rather huge. I would like to take this time to reinforce how important sponsors are.

Sponsors are so important

No journey is smooth and no journey is cheap. Support, both financially and in equipment, is just massive and allows athletes to grow. Where does the role of sponsor fit in for athletes who don’t start their journey on the podium? It fits in everywhere. There are athletes who started nowhere and are now the best in their field. Their sponsors stood by them when things were looking a little grim. Losing sponsors at a time where races don’t go smoothly is a kick in the teeth athletes don’t need.

We all want to promote the brands as best we can and do our sponsors proud in an effort to thank them but this doesn’t always happen. Sponsors who are there through thick and thin, through the lows and the highs, for the love of trying to help and support – they are the ones who make the difference. Such a huge support. I have been so lucky in having such great support this year.

Malmo Triathlon

I have not had the success just yet that I have been dreaming of but each day is a day building strength and speed I didn’t have the day before and each triathlon shows progress. Having people believe in you is a big boost and I believe I will have the success I dream of one day. Rome wasn’t built in a day and some journeys require more time than others. I have time and I am very motivated to get myself to where I want to be.

 

Thank you as ever to Ribble Cycles, Polaris Bikewear, Newton running, Newline sport and New Running Gear. I’m sorry the podium hasn’t come yet but it will!

I hope everyone is cycling happy and loving doing what they are doing – triathlon or cycling!

Stay safe, stay healthy,
Ailbhe 🙂

Malmo Triathlon

Guide: Going for Gold at the ‘Big Event’ – our guide to the cycling events

We hope you’re as excited as we are as a feast of cycling at the Rio Olympics approaches. Eighteen cycling gold medals will be keenly fought for and it all starts this weekend. Four years ago, at the London Olympics, Great Britain headed the medals table with a fantastic haul of eight gold, two silver and two bronze. Who will you be rooting for in Rio?

The opening ceremony takes place late (23.15) on Friday evening and cycling is one of the major sports that will dominate the first week of Games action with the men’s road race kicking things off on Saturday (6th August).

MG - BOCAIUVA - 10/05/2016 - REVEZAMENTO DA TOCHA RIO 2016 - Revezamento da Tocha Olimpica para os Jogos Rio 2016. Foto: Rio2016/Fernando Soutello
Photo: Rio2016/Fernando Soutello
No late nights?

Cycling fans are lucky that practically all the racing will take place at convenient times for UK viewers (all times stated here are British Summer Time). The road races, time trials, triathlon and mountain biking will all take place during the afternoon and the six days of track cycling sessions will run largely from 14.00 to 22.30.

The time difference between the UK and Brazil will mean that some of the biggest (evening) events from other sports will happen in the very early hours of the morning and the BBC’s Breakfast Show will become an Olympics highlights show so we can catch up with events.

Road Races

The Olympic road races will be contested by national teams of up to five riders each over a tough and lumpy circuit that should favour hilly Classics riders. Spain’s Alejandro Valverde and Italian Vincenzo Nibali are being mentioned as favourites, but the road race can throw up a surprise winner.

Britain take a strong five-man road team to the Olympics but no recognised sprinter. The final climb is thought to be too far from the finish line to favour Chris Froome or Adam Yates so Team GB will perhaps be hoping to get Steve Cummings, Ian Stannard or Geraint Thomas into a small breakaway group that could contest the medals.

In the women’s race World champion Lizzie Armitstead will be up against a strong Dutch team again as she hopes to upgrade the silver medal she won in London four years ago behind Marianne Vos.

Television commentator Anthony McCrossan was driven around the road race course this week and said, “It’s going to be an incredible race. The course is very hard with stunning scenery.”

UCI President Brian Cookson is also excited about Rio and told the press, “The road race mixes some of Rio’s most iconic backdrops such as Copacabana and Ipanema with some really testing sections such as the Grumari Circuit. The steep climb up Grumari Road is sure to provide a unique test for time trial riders.”

The men’s road race, over 237.5km, starts at 13.30 (finishing approx. 19.51) on Saturday (6th August) followed by the 136.9km women’s road race at 16.15 (finishing approx. 20.23) on Sunday.

GB Men’s team: Chris Froome; Steve Cummings; Ian Stannard; Geraint Thomas; and Adam Yates. GB Women’s team: Lizzie Armitstead; Nikki Harris; and Emma Pooley.

Check out Ribble Road bikes here
Best Of British - South Pennines-8

Time Trial

Team Great Britain is likely to select Chris Froome to compete in the time trial where he stands an excellent chance of following in the wheel tracks of Sir Bradley Wiggins and winning the gold medal. The GB selections for the time trial  will be made after the road race events. Update: Team GB time trial selections are: Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas and Emma Pooley.

Both time trials place on Wednesday 10th August with the women riders starting first from 12.30 (racing over 29.86km) and the men riders heading out from 14.00. The men’s 54.56km two-lap course includes four significant climbs which will suit Tour de France winner Froome.

Check out Ribble Time Trial Bikes

Track Cycling

The large track programme starts on Thursday 11th August and the Men’s Team Sprint will be the first final. The Men’s Team Pursuit featuring Sir Bradley Wiggins will also begin on the opening day at 17.23 and the British quartet of Wiggins, Steven Burke, Ed Clancy and Owain Doull will be hoping to qualify for the final taking place at 18.20 on Friday 12th August. The track events continue until Tuesday 16th August.

Get into Track Cycling with the Ribble Pista

Triathlon

The men’s triathlon is contested on Thursday 18th August with the women’s race on Saturday 20th August both starting at 11.00. Alistair Brownlee defends his Olympic title and heads a six-strong Team GB triathlon squad.

GB Men’s triathlon: Alistair Brownlee, Jonny Brownlee and Gordon Benson. GB Women’s triathlon: Non Stanford, Vicky Holland and Helen Jenkins.

Check out the range of Ribble Triathlon Bikes

Ribble Aero TT: our time trial and triathlon missile.
Mountain Biking

The cycling events at the Rio Olympics will conclude with the two mountain bike races, around a five kilometre lap, on the final weekend of competition. World road race champion Peter Sagan returns to off-road racing, but it would be a big surprise if he can beat the MTB specialists.

The women will race on Saturday 20th August and the men 24 hours later. Both races start at 16.30 and Grant Ferguson is the only British rider selected.  

Check out Ribble Mountain Bikes here

Olympic Cycling Timetable

Sat 6 Aug: Men’s Road Race.
Sun 7 Aug: Women’s Road Race.
Wed 10 Aug: Road Time Trials.
Thu 11 to Tue 16 Aug: Track events.
Thu 18 & Sat 20 Aug: Triathlon
Sat 20 & Sun 21 Aug: Mountain Biking.

The Paralympic Games follow on in Rio and run from 7-18th September.

ES - LINHARES - 18/05/2016 - REVEZAMENTO DA TOCHA RIO 2016 - Revezamento da Tocha Olimpica para os Jogos Rio 2016. Foto: Rio2016/Andre Luiz Mello
Photo: Rio2016/Andre Luiz Mello