Newport Velodrome seeks to host Ukraine's track championships

National Championships cannot take place at home due to the Russian invasion, donations needed

Ukrainian track cyclist Olena Starikova
Ukrainian track cyclist Olena Starikova
(Image credit: Getty Images)

An attempt is being made for Ukraine's National Track Championships to be held at the Geraint Thomas Velodrome in Newport.

The decision to hold the event in Newport "is to allow Ukrainian elite track riders to have their National Championships in a safe place" due to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

However, thousands of pounds needs to be raised in order to to cover transport and logistics costs. The Newport Velodrome has been given free of charge for the event on 25-27 November, while a donor has covered accommodation and meals.

Newport was the host of the British National Track Championships this year, and will do so again in January 2023.

Mauro Pizzol, a cycling specialist and a director at Excel Sports Management, is one of the men organising this event, and started the fundraiser on GoFundMe.

He told the South Wales Argus: "During a conversation with with a friend who was also a team manager in one of my teams, Joseph Alberti, we came across this idea: 'what can we do to help Ukrainian riders at the moment?'

"So we thought we thought 'let's see if we can help them with the National Championships'."

"When the war started a few months ago, everyone was trying to help in different ways, such as hosting Ukrainian families here in the UK," he continued. "We have background in the cycling world and we thought we can help by doing what we know how to do, which in this case was organising cycling event.

"It shows that around the world, every nation, everyone in the world cares about what's happening. And we are trying to help."

A £10,000 gift from a donor for accommodation and meals means the Ukrainian Cycling Federation (UCF) has been able to plan its National Championships and the event is now set in the official UCI calendar. However, an extra £10,000 is needed for the event to go ahead.

The GoFundMe page reads: "This initiative is to allow Ukrainian elite track riders to have their National Championships in a safe place. The National Championships is the most important event on their national calendar.

"Everyone involved in the organisation of this event has previous experience in the organisation and management of elite cycling events and we are all contributing our time for free, out of solidarity with our Ukrainian friends.

"We have already received some amazing support: one individual very generous donation has already covered the accommodation and meals costs (£10K) and the Geraint Thomas Newport Velodrome has donated the use of the track for free for the three days of the event.

"We still need to raise £10,000 to cover the transportation of the riders and other logistical costs.

"We really appreciate your support in helping put on this event. Individual donations of £100 or more will receive 2 tickets to the event. Donations of £1,000 or more will receive 4 VIP tickets and the opportunity to meet the riders and the officials of the Ukrainian Cycling Federation.

"If you wish to donate a larger amount, please do contact the organisers through this page."

At the recent European Track Championships in Munich, Germany, Ukraine won two medals through Olena Starikova: a bronze in the Keirin, and a silver medal in the 500m time trial.

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