Hugh Robertson MP, Sport and Olympics Minister, today visited the Manchester Velodrome to see first-hand how British Cycling is preparing for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Having been welcomed by British Cycling Chief Executive Ian Drake, and Director of Policy and Legal Affairs Martin Gibbs, Robertson was led to the track centre by Dave Brailsford, Performance Director, to see for himself some of Britain’s leading sprint track riders and para-cyclists being put through their paces in an afternoon training session.
This gave the Minister a unique insight into the cutting edge techniques used to ensure Britain’s riders reach the major championships in the best possible shape.
Hugh Robertson MP said: “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. 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. For example, 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. 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.”
Ian Drake, British Cycling’s CEO, said: “It’s a real boost for everyone to have the Minister visit. Not only did it give us the opportunity to thank him for his considerable efforts in protecting sports funding in the recent spending review, but also to show him the effort we go to in order to squeeze out maximum return for every penny of the public money we receive. We don’t underestimate the importance of this, particularly during these difficult economic times, and we are determined to ensure that the success we achieve at the top level acts as an inspiration and translates into more people discovering the joy of cycling across the nation.”