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  • UCI Officials Head to Rio Amid Olympic Velodrome Concerns


    The Barra Velodrome as seen prior to its current renovation (Getty Images)
    (ATR) Despite construction problems voiced by the IOC’s Rio Olympics troubleshooter, the UCI tells Around the Rings it is confident the velodrome will be operational by March 2016.

    Gilbert Felli, the former Olympic Games executive director, warned last week that the 5,800-seat velodrome at the Barra Olympic Park had become the Rio 2016 sports venue causing the IOC most concern.

    He said Rio mayor Eduardo Paes was personally concerned and doing everything in his power to stop any further slippage in construction of the venue.

    A UCI spokesman told ATR that the federation is “closely monitoring” Rio 2016 preparations.

    “Rio 2016 organizers have assured us of their commitment and will be reinforcing their efforts for the construction of the velodrome,” he said.

    “We have been guaranteed that the venue will be operational for the Olympic track cycling test event, planned for March 2016. All these topics will be addressed and reviewed this week on the occasion of a coordination visit carried out by the UCI.”

    UCI road director Philippe Chevallier and road coordinator Matthew Knight will visit Rio from Nov. 14-17. Talks with Rio 2016 will take place to determine how much the venue is behind schedule and what can be done to accelerate the velodrome project.

    Rio 2016 has promised to complete the velodrome in the second half of 2015, but it appears delays may push delivery into 2016.

    The UCI is confident this will not be the case.

    “We are expecting the venues of all Olympic cycling disciplines to be delivered on schedule as early as possible,” the spokesman said.

    Felli returned to Rio on Sunday for a 10-day visit. The progress of venues, operations and service levels are among discussion areas for the Swiss in his talks with Rio 2016 organizers and other Olympic stakeholders.

    Reported by Mark Bisson

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