Veledrome visit proves a big hit

Thursday 22 November 2012 Updated: 22/11 09:39

TWENTY-FOUR Stratford Cycling Club riders enjoyed some action at the Newport Indoor Velodrome.

It is where the hugely successful British cycling team trained before going on to win seven gold medals at the London Olympics.

Eight of the club’s youngsters visited the banked track for the first time coached by club member and Welsh national junior coach Geoff Cooke.

Riders must be at least 10 years of age to ride at the Velodrome and most of the young riders admitted it was a bit scary riding a fixed wheel bike with no brakes for the first time.

When they started, they were coached to ride on the flat part of the track until they were confident with the fixed wheel.

Then they moved “up the boards” and within 30 minutes they were all riding up the 42 per cent banking and enjoying the thrill of Velodrome racing.

By the end of several sessions lasting over two hours, they were all riding right to the top of the banking with confidence.

Some of the seniors were also riding on fixed wheels for the first time but by the end of the session, they were also enjoying the experience.

The next step is for club riders to race on the track and that takes a lot of hours of practice before they get an accreditation licence.

When they do, they will be able to race at Newport, Manchester and the London Olympic Velodrome, as well as the new track in Glasgow.

The club currently has just two accredited riders - Andrew Butler as a junior and Tom Lane as an under 16 youth rider.

Butler opened his winter Velodrome season at Newport with some spectacular riding and breakaways but will need a few more weeks to reproduce the form needed to capitalise on his efforts.

Butler was, however, in excellent form in the last outdoor race of the season at Halesowen where in a field of 28 riders in the elimination race he finished second. Every lap the last rider over the line is eliminated until three riders remain, so this was a long race.

Lane was also in the action and just when it looked as though both Stratford riders would be in the last three, Lane was eliminated with just five riders left.

Lane was invited to ride with the Regional School of Racing at the Manchester Velodrome for the second year.

It is a development programme for youth riders seen to have potential nationally and he will be invited to attend further sessions throughout the winter.

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