Manchester Velodrome

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National Cycling Centre
Manchester Velodrome
Manchester Velodrome 2011.jpg
Panorama image of the Manchester Velodrome
LocationStuart Street
M11 4DQ
Owner City of Manchester
Operator British Cycling
Capacity 3,500
Field size250 metre track
Opened14 September 1994 [1]
ArchitectFaulknerBrowns Architects
Services engineerR.V. Webb (Velodrome track) [2] [3]
Sky Track Cycling (UCI Track Cycling)
Team Sky (UCI ProTeam)
Manchester Wheelers' Club [4]
Major events hosted
2002 Commonwealth Games
UCI Track Cycling World Championships
(1996, 2000, 2008)
British National Track Championships
Revolution Cycling series

Manchester Velodrome is an indoor Olympic-standard cycle-racing track in Manchester, England, which opened in 1994. Part of the National Cycling Centre, the facility has been home to British Cycling since 1994 and the five time Tour de France-winning UCI ProTeam Team Sky since it formed in 2009. The Manchester Velodrome has been cited as the major catalyst for Britain's successes in track and road cycling and has been described by Cycling Weekly as the "beating heart of British Cycling’s ascension to the top of world cycling". [5] [6] [7]


For 18 years from opening, it was the only indoor Olympic-standard track in the United Kingdom before the completion of the Lee Valley VeloPark for the 2012 Summer Olympics and is one of the busiest velodromes in the world used by both professional cyclists and members of the public from 8am to 10pm. [8] [9] [10]

The venue hosted track cycling for the 2002 Commonwealth Games and forms part of the Sportcity complex, located adjacent to the City of Manchester Stadium, host stadium for the 2002 Games and home of Manchester City F.C. It has also hosted the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in 1996, 2000 and 2008, hosts regular meets of the Revolution track cycling series and now hosts Six-day racing. The National Indoor BMX Arena adjacent opened in 2011 and the Velodrome can be accessed from the Metrolink Velopark tram stop on the East Manchester Line.


The exterior of the Manchester Velodrome from Stuart Street. Manchester Velodrome 2.jpg
The exterior of the Manchester Velodrome from Stuart Street.
Internal view of the Velodrome. Manchester Velodrome roof.jpg
Internal view of the Velodrome.

The Manchester Velodrome was developed as a joint venture between Sport England, Manchester City Council and British Cycling, who recognised the need for an Olympic-standard facility in the United Kingdom to improve British track cycling. Funding was provided by the government, through the Department of the Environment (£6.5m), the Sports Council (£2m) and the Foundation for Sport and the Arts (£1m). Manchester City Council is the freehold owner and the centre is managed by the Eastlands Trust (formerly named the Velodrome Trust). [2] The Velodrome was dismissed by some as a potential white elephant prior to opening – concerns that were later unfounded with the facility well used by the public and a key part of Britain's ascension to the top of track cycling. [11] [12] [13] [14]

The velodrome was designed by FaulknerBrowns Architects and has garnered a reputation for speed since its opening. [15] The centre's roof structure is based around a 122-metre, 200 tonne arch allowing for an unrestricted viewing area for spectators. Covered by an aluminium roof, the total structure weighs around 600 tonnes. The track is 250 metres long and its bankings reach 42 degrees in the middle. [2] The track is as steep at the top as it is on the black (racing) line. On 21 May 2007 the velodrome closed for resurfacing in Siberian pine at a cost of £400,000. It reopened on 16 July 2007, and is considered a smoother ride. [16]

By 30 March 2008, more than 15 world records had been set, including Chris Boardman's 1996 and 2000 hour records and the 4000 metre team pursuit record set by the Great Britain men's team at the 2008 World Championships.

The UCI hour record set by Boardman in the Best Human Effort category in 1996, [17] was rescinded by UCI in 2000 and subsequent attempts at breaking Eddy Merckx's 1972 record stopped as UCI believed advanced bicycle technology gave cyclists too much help. [18] Boardman set out to break the record on a bike comparable to Eddy Merckx's 1972 machine. He surpassed the record at the velodrome in 2000, achieving a distance of 49.444km as against the 1972 record of 49.431 km, and then retired. [19]

The velodrome has become a popular venue for cyclists with taster and practice sessions frequently booked up several weeks in advance. [20] In 2011, the National Indoor BMX Arena was opened next to the velodrome. [21] Plans proposed in 2012 included a mountain bike trail on Clayton Vale, which would be the first facility of its kind in the United Kingdom and would aim to replicate Britain's performance on the track in mountain biking. [22]



Revolution 22 at the Manchester Velodrome ManchesterVelodrome Revolution22 FutureStars.jpg
Revolution 22 at the Manchester Velodrome

The Revolution Series opened in 2003 to build on events such as the world championships and World Cup meetings and provide more regular events. There were four Revolution events over the winter of 2003–04. They built good crowds. The seventh, in 2005, sold all the seats with further fans standing. The first official sell-out was Revolution 14. The series of sprint and endurance events runs on Saturday nights. Internationals compete with British stars and up-and-coming talent. Some riders have retired at Revolution events, rewarded with a retirement presentation. A Future Stars competition has races for young riders aged 15 or 16 to test their sprint and endurance. Olympic riders Jason Kenny and Steven Burke came up through this series. In 2012 it was announced that Revolution events would take place at the recently opened London Velodrome and Glasgow Velodrome from 2013.

Other events

On 2 July 2009 Kraftwerk performed at the velodrome as part of the 2009 Manchester International Festival. As they performed Tour de France , four members of the British Olympic cycling team entered and rode laps of the track.

Notable events

Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish on their way to becoming the 2008 world Madison champions Wiggins Cavendish 2008.jpg
Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish on their way to becoming the 2008 world Madison champions

A list of notable events which Manchester Velodrome has hosted:

See also

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  1. ""BCF to run velodrome." Times, 13 July 1994, p. 38". Times Digital Archives.
  2. 1 2 3 "Manchester Velodrome - About us". Manchester Velodrome. Archived from the original on 17 July 2012. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
  3. "Velodrome tracks by R.V. Webb". R.V. Webb Ltd. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
  4. "Manchester Wheelers' Club - Track". Manchester Wheelers' Club. Archived from the original on 1 August 2012. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  5. Andrews, Guy (1 April 2008). "How did Britain get so good at cycling?". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 July 2012. As well as bringing in the finest equipment and the best coaches available, British Cycling based everything on one oval track in Manchester, built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games.
  6. "British pedal power or Queally over-rated?". BBC News. 20 September 2000.
  7. "Cycling Weekly - Manchester Velodrome". Cycling Weekly. 14 August 2014. Retrieved 13 August 2016. Twenty years later it is the beating heart of British Cycling’s ascension to the top of world cycling and the self-styled ‘busiest track in the world’. Multiple world and Olympic champions, a Tour de France winner and world renowned coaching and talent spotting setup can all be traced back to this venue.
  8. Ottewell, David (8 August 2012). "Fast track to glory: How Manchester Velodrome forged Britain's Olympic gold rush". Manchester Evening News. M.E.N. Media. Retrieved 20 June 2015. The council-owned Velodrome, built with £6.5m of government money and £3m from the Sports Council and Foundation for Sport and the Arts, was Britain’s only Olympic-standard indoor track when it opened 18 years ago.
  9. "Officials argue for Velodrome". Scotsman. 30 April 2005. Retrieved 13 August 2016. "Manchester is the busiest velodrome in the world," continued King. "It’s booked solidly from 8am in the morning until 10pm at night, and its effect on the North West of England has been that there are more cycling clubs, more events and, crucially, more participants than in any other region of England.
  10. "Top cyclist's fears over 'white elephant' track". Scotsman. 17 December 2013. Retrieved 16 August 2016. “Manchester is built in the deprived Eastlands area. The track is always full to capacity, used by many local schools and the kids’ club has a waiting list.”
  11. "Commonwealth chiefs want Beckham". BBC News. 7 March 2001. Retrieved 16 August 2016. Too often we think when things are built they will be a white elephant. "But who would have thought the Velodrome in Manchester would have had the effect it has?"
  12. "Cycling: On track for success as Manchester Velodrome helps break the mould". Daily Telegraph. 14 January 2002. Retrieved 16 August 2016. Success, therefore, is all the sweeter when a dome breaks the mould and turns out to be a success. This is what has happened at the Manchester Velodrome, one of the centrepiece venues for this summer's Commonwealth Games.
  13. "Manchester's 'White Elephant' thankfully extinct, says proud cyclist Storey". 7 October 2015. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  14. "Clause 44 - Glasgow Grand Prix". 8 May 2014. Retrieved 16 August 2016. The development was labelled as the greatest white elephant in Britain by some of the press, but if Manchester velodrome had been a country at the 2012 Olympic games, it would have come seventh in the medal table.
  15. "FaulknerBrownArchitects - Sport". Faulker Brown Architects. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  16. Taylor, Paul (2 June 2007). "Velodrome on fast track". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  17. Liggett, Phil (28 October 2000). "Cycling: Boardman ends career in style". The Telegraph. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  18. "Boardman and the banned Superman". BBC Sport. 26 October 2000. Retrieved 15 July 2012.
  19. "Boardman breaks Merckx record". BBC Sport. 27 October 2000. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  20. Walker, Peter (2 August 2012). "The road to take to be the next Bradley Wiggins or Lizzie Armitstead". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
  21. "£24m BMX Centre Opened". British Cycling. 6 August 2011. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  22. "Clayton Vale Mountain Bike Trail Consultation". 16 July 2012. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
Preceded by
Cheras Veledrome
Kuala Lumpur
2002 Commonwealth Games

Succeeded by
Hisense Arena
Preceded by
Velódromo Luis Carlos Galán
UCI Track Cycling World Championships

Succeeded by
Perth SpeedDome
Preceded by
UCI Track Cycling World Championships

Succeeded by
Preceded by
Palma Arena
Palma de Mallorca
UCI Track Cycling World Championships

Succeeded by
BGŻ Arena