Cycling Ireland’s indoor velodrome project left in limbo

Six Irish riders to compete in seven events at second round of World Cup in Apeldoorn

Martyn Irvine won  gold and silver medals in the 2013 World Championships: with an indoor velodrome, other Irish cyclists could emulate him. Photograph: Eric Feferberg/AFP/Getty Images

Martyn Irvine won gold and silver medals in the 2013 World Championships: with an indoor velodrome, other Irish cyclists could emulate him. Photograph: Eric Feferberg/AFP/Getty Images

 

A year and a half after Fingal County Council granted planning permission for what would be Ireland’s first indoor velodrome, there is as yet no sign of that project moving to the next stage.

Cycling Ireland has been pushing for many years to have an indoor track here, something which would lessen the need for the country’s competitors to go abroad to prepare for international events.

Despite not having a velodrome here, Martyn Irvine took gold and silver medals in the 2013 World Championships. Cycling Ireland believes the chances of future success would be boosted if the infrastructure was in place.

However, although the project went out to tender last year, Cycling Ireland chief executive Geoff Liffey said yesterday that things had stalled.

Cost-benefit analysis

“The last we knew was that they were going to do a cost-benefit analysis of it,” Liffey said, referring to the Government. “That is not unusual. I’ve been told that for all the major new capital finance projects, these are done and they are recent, as prices can change year by year.

“Unfortunately, in the budget that came out a few weeks ago, there wasn’t a specific capital allocation project for next year. So the timelines are at best uncertain now.

“It is disappointing. We remain confident it can be done in the future, but next year there appears to be a degree of consolidation on the capital side for sports facilities. So there is no significant advancement.”

World Cup

Liffey said Cycling Ireland would continue to engage with the Minister for Sport and others to try to move things forward, but that the delay complicated things in terms of preparing for Tokyo 2020.

He said that once it was “greenlighted”, the project would likely take two years to be completed. “So if it was starting late 2017 or early 2018, it would be early 2020 before the velodrome is ready,” he said.

Liffey will elaborate on the topic at the Cycling Ireland agm in Castletroy Park Hotel in Limerick.

In related news, six Irish riders will compete across seven events at the second round of cycling’s track World Cup in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, this weekend.

Felix English and Lydia Boylan get things under way on Friday, with Eoin Mullen, Mark Downey, Shannon McCurley and Lydia Gurley also competing.

Last weekend Gurley made an impressive World Cup debut, netting fourth in the women’s scratch race in Glasgow. She was also sixth alongside Boylan in the women’s madison event.

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