Action ramped up at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 Velodrome over the month of May with the opening of the venue to the public.
The Velodrome, located in Barra Olympic Park, now offers the chance to train on the same track that saw world records smashed and Olympic champions crowned last August.
The inaugural month of activity was capped off with the Rio Bike Fest, which featured the 2017 State Championships over the weekend.
“It is a dream. This is the fastest velodrome on the planet. In it, 33 world records were beaten. It's an honor for any athlete to be able to train on that track,” Rodrigo Babo, Track Director of the Rio Cycling Federation, told OGlobo.
While the Championships were the focus of the three-day bike event, which offered free admission, organisers capitalized on the festival to attract a variety of people to the sport. In addition to the track competitions, a 20km tour, BMX Freestyle exhibitions, and a cycling expo fair were also featured.
This is the fastest velodrome on the planet. In it, 33 world records were beaten. It's an honor for any athlete to be able to train on that trackRodrigo Babo
"We want to optimize and maximize the space. The young teams already train there three times a week and we want a national competition at least every three or four months,” said Rio Cycling Federation Vice-President, Robert Sgarbi.
Cycling enthusiasts believe the re-opening of the track will kindle interest in the sport.
“Currently, the number of people participating in cycling events is five times greater than four years ago. With regard to the sport practiced on the track, we still cannot measure… But the market is being stimulated, and this fair will enrich it even more,” said sports advisor Marcelo Godoy.The Velodrome of the Olympic Park, which has wooden floors and is capable of hosting high-performance competitions, is reportedly the only one of its kind in Latin America.