Six weeks before the Olympic Games begin in Rio de Janeiro, the troubled velodrome has finally been handed over to the organisers, with riders practising on the track this weekend.
The velodrome suffered numerous setbacks, with two test events ahead of the Games having to be postponed, but the UCI and the riders who have tested it are confident it will be 100 per cent finished in time for the start of the Olympics on August 5.
“We see that the building is still under construction, so there is a bit of dust on the track,” Swiss rider Gael Suter, who practiced on Sunday, told the Associated Press.
“Maybe it is not 100 percent yet. But no doubt it will be ready for the Olympics, and it will be a fast track.”
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Temporary seating still needs to be added to the venue, with concessions stands and other facilities also needing to be added.
“It’s certainly not ideal, but given the circumstances we’re very happy to have some practice this weekend,” said the UCI technical delegate Gilles Peruzzi.
Preparations for the Games have been hampered by Brazil's steepest recession since the 1930s, with the Zika virus, budget cuts and slow ticket sales also causing problems.
Then, on June 24, the World Anti-Doping Agency suspended the laboratory that would analyse the doping tests in the city during the Games. AP reports that if the laboratory is not re-opened ahead of the Games, thousands of samples will have to be shipped abroad for analysis.
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Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.
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