Sport minister visits London 2012 cyclists in Manchester

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Sport and Olympics minister Hugh Robertson MP visited Manchester velodrome on Thursday to see first-hand how Britain's cyclists are preparing for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London.

Robertson was met by BC chief executive Ian Drake and director of policy and legal affairs Martin Gibbs before being accompanied into the velodrome centre by performance director David Brailsford.

From track centre, Robertson watched a number of Britain's Paralympic and Olympic track cyclists go through their paces.

"You can't help but be impressed by the set-up here in Manchester, both in terms of the facilities which are second to none, but also the sense of professionalism and winning mentality you see in the coaches and riders alike," Robertson said after his visit.

"It is easy to see how British Cycling has achieved the success it has enjoyed over the past few years and I remain committed to helping ensure they, and all our other Olympic and Paralympic sports, can continue to build on this through London and beyond."

"That is not just about funding at the elite level, but also doing what we can to ensure the next generation of stars get the right opportunities to begin their sporting journey."

Robertson also made encouraging remarks about the current problem of hosting races on open roads. A problem that is at odds with Britain's current success in international road events with the likes of Mark Cavendish, Bradley Wiggins, Geraint Thomas, Nicole Cooke, Emma Pooley and David Millar.

"I am acutely aware of the problems British Cycling has faced with regard to the issue of road racing on the highways and my officials are working hard to resolve those with the Department of Transport and the Home Office," said Robertson.

"This is important as grass-roots road racing has been a key stepping stone on the route to the top for so many of today's cycling heroes."

On Tuesday, Team GB coach Shane Sutton was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Her Majesty the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

Related links

GB coach Sutton awarded OBE

Thomas leads Team Sky at next Revolution

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