October 3/10 10:20 am - Canada’s Wheels Christen New Track in Delhi
Posted by Editoress on 10/3/10
After months of waiting and speculating, Canadian track cycling team members Zach Bell (Watson Lake, YK), Travis Smith (Calgary, AB) and Monique Sullivan (Calgary, AB) finally took their first roll around the velodrome at the recently completed cycling venue at the Indira Gandhi Stadium in Delhi.
Considered one of the most exciting stadiums constructed for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, anticipation was high as the team-members circled the track.
“I am pleasantly surprised,” said 2008 Olympican Bell, following media interviews after his first training ride. “The track far exceeds my expectations, I am envious we don’t have this at home.”
Although the engineering challenges surrounding the construction of a roof without any pillars were widely reported, it was the construction of India’s first-ever timber track for cycling that had caused the speculation. For the first time in India, timber tracks for the 250-metre track were imported from Scandinavian countries. The stadium has been designed by Stup Consultants, which had designed the main indoor and athletics stadium in Hyderabad, India for the National Games in 2002.
Canadian track cycling coach Richard Wooles of North Vancouver, BC, said the feedback from his riders was positive.
“The consensus was that it was better than expected,” said Wooles. “The transitions seem good with a slight dip in the turns which many riders like.”
With one gold, one silver and three bronze medals won in Melbourne, Australia in 2006, expectations are high for the Canadian cycling team using Delhi as a platform to prepare for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Multi-national champions and medalists Bell, Smith and Sullivan, who have all recently been training in Los Angeles, California, left their first training sessions with positive reviews and high hopes for these Commonwealth Games.
“It is quite nice, it feels the same as the velodrome in Beijing,” said Sullivan. ”This is a world-class track with wide corners, and it feels comfortable. There is more of a comfort level knowing that this is where we are going to compete.”
Competition on the track begins Tuesday.
YouTube interview with Travis Smith
Commonwealth Games press release
Photos Richard Wooles