Leeds fires starting gun on facility fit for Olympians
Work starts on £5m University of Leeds sports development to boost cycling and triathlon facilities in the region
The project for a 1.6km (1 mile) outdoor cycling circuit and refurbished sports pavilion on the University of Leed’s Bodington playing fields in North Leeds will provide a traffic-free environment for cycling.The 6m-wide, tarmac-surfaced circuit should be ready early next year for University students, staff and the wider community to use for all levels of cycling including recreation, coaching and competition.
The development comes just after some 8,000 people took part in the Leeds Sky Ride earlier this month, with part of the city centre closed to traffic for the two-wheeled enjoyment of all ages.
The city’s Olympic competitors, including University of Leeds alumni Alistair and Jonny Brownlee and Gordon Benson, will have access to the new facilities at Bodington.
The pavilion will create a home for British Triathlon’s world-leading Leeds Triathlon Centre, providing strength and conditioning training, physiotherapy and other support services.
The proposals, which are part of the University’s sports and physical activity strategy, have been drawn up in partnership with British Cycling, British Triathlon, UK Sport and Leeds City Council.
Patrick Craig, the University’s Assistant Head of Sport, said:“This is a success story for cycling in the city and beyond. It will ensure cyclists of all abilities in Yorkshire and across the north of England have some of the best facilities in the UK available close to home.
“Opening this new track reinforces our vision of becoming the number one provider of higher education sport and physical activity experience in the UK.
Charles Johnston, Sport England’s Property Director, said: “Thanks to this new development, British triathletes will have access to the dedicated world-class training and support facilities they need to be the best. This includes the new mile-long off-road cycling circuit, physio room and strengthening and conditioning suite – creating excellent training facilities for our current and future champions.
“But it’s not all about Olympians. When Sport England invests in facilities, we make sure everyone can benefit, regardless of ability. This centre is no different. I’m looking forward to seeing our top athletes and members of the community all using and enjoying these fantastic facilities for years to come.”
The Bodington site is currently used for grass sports including football and rugby. These uses will continue after the redevelopment.