The partners promoting the Manawatu velodrome today released an artists impression of what the facility would look like if built on the Massey University campus at Palmerston North.
The proposed cycling velodrome will provide a world-class facility that will benefit all sports lovers, according to proponent and leading cycling administrator Paul van Velthooven.
The city has placed a bid with sports funding agency SPARC to host the new high-performance venue. Palmerston North City Council, Massey University, Sport Manawatu and the Manawatu District Council have worked together on the bid.
If approved, the velodrome will be built next to the University's Sport and Rugby Institute and Community Athletics Track on Albany Drive.
Mr van Velthooven, the Feilding Cycling Club president, will be the cycling representative on the governance board of the proposed velodrome. He says it will be fantastic for the region, and the nation, and an ideal compliment to the very successful velodrome in Invercargill.
“As the image shows, the velodrome will create a sporting hub that includes a number of top-quality facilities already in place,” he says. “It’s a fantastic location in the midst of a sporting precinct that’s becoming more and more important to the city.
“If the Invercargill example is any indication, cycling membership will triple if not quadruple. We have 250 members across the three local cycling clubs now and there’s no reason why we wouldn’t get 1000 when the velodrome is built.” The three clubs, Feilding, Palmerston North Marist and the Masters Club are working towards amalgamating by the end of the year.
“The velodrome will be a natural fit for the new club, in providing new clubrooms, and will provide a facility that will bring the community of cycling in our region closer together."
His son, Simon, a Massey University student now riding in Japan, is also excited by the prospect of a velodrome in the city. “The city has everything that a track cyclist would need and I could see many high-level track cyclists training in Manawatu,” Simon van Velthooven says. “Not only do we have quiet training roads, which would complement the track training very well, but the facilities that Massey can offer in terms of gymnasium, athlete support, academic support, sports science and athlete scholarships are in my view unparalleled anywhere in the world.
“The prospect of racing in front of my home town is also exciting. Having a local velodrome of international quality would be awesome for all concerned. Track racing carnivals are very popular world wide.”
Sport Manawatu chief executive Mike Daisley says the velodrome will boost sports infrastucture in the region significantly.
“It is critical to remember that this is not just a race-track for a handful performance cyclists. It’s a sport facility that will allow kids on tricycles to learn to ride, primary schools to run cycle safety classes, and social bike races between local business,” Mr Daisley says. “Remember, it’s just a very large indoor sports facility that also has a track in it. There are many sports that can benefit from a large indoor multi-use space.
“Obviously it will give us world-class venues for cycling, tennis and other sports, which will bring national and international events, and the economic benefits they have to the city. This new building will allow us to offer an affordable administrative hub set in the middle of an extensive sports precinct.”
Head of the School of Sport and Exercise at Massey University Associate Professor Steve Stannard says the velodrome would be a good fit with the University. “We have many of the best sport scientists in the country. A number of our staff focus on cycling-related research and we already boast one of the leading cycling science laboratories in the southern hemisphere. Massey’s Academy of Sport is also a vital contributor to the sporting community, providing young sports people the support they need to both compete at a high level and pursue their academic ambitions.”