By Jonny Long
Chris Boardman hopes to find new ownership for the Boardman Performance Centre after Halfords announced its closure alongside bike shop chain Cycle Republic.
"Some of you might have heard the news today. So thought I’d put my thoughts down here," Boardman said in an Instagram post following the news.
"Whilst I’m obviously disappointed the Performance Centre isn’t going to form part of our strategy going forward, I do understand the immense pressure Halfords, along with other retailers, is under right now.
"Pioneering, world-first things like this takes courage to back and we need to remember Halfords showed leadership in enabling us to do something different and wonderful. This was a tough decision and I know it wasn’t taken lightly.
"It is my hope that we can find someone who is in a position to take the centre on as a going concern. It’s still an amazing place and most importantly, it has an amazing team. That’s what I will be striving for over the next few weeks."
The Boardman Performance Centre offers a broad spectrum of cycling testing and bike-fitting, including a wind-tunnel.
Halfords revealed on Monday morning (March 16) that it plans to close its high street cycle shops and the Boardman cycling facility in Evesham, in order to free up money and focus on the motoring aspects of its business.
There will be 226 employees affected by the move, which is being taken after Halfords carried out a "strategic review."
A Halfords statement to the London Stock Exchange said: “Our proposal links directly to our strategic update in November 2019.
At the time of the centre's opening in 2018, Boardman said: "I don’t get overexcited, I’m careful about using superlatives, but this will revolutionise cycling in Britain.
"You’ve heard the figure a lot, you know, 80 per cent of your energy’s pushing air out the way, but you test power to the watt, speed to the tenth of the km an hour. And then for aero you’ve got hearsay and articles in magazines. It’s absolutely crazy," Boardman continued, explaining how people haven’t had affordable access to the best aero advice.
"That’s because people have no choice. And now they will. At a price that’s at least accessible for an enthusiast. It may change how people spend their sporting money."
Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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