Olympics boost £3.5m cycling centre bid

GREAT Britain's Olympic success in cycling is likely to boost a bid to deliver a £3.5million cycling centre in the heart of Ipswich, it emerged today.

Neil Puffett

GREAT Britain's Olympic success in cycling is likely to boost a bid to deliver a £3.5million cycling centre in the heart of Ipswich, it emerged today.

The British team, including Suffolk cyclist Victoria Pendleton, enjoyed phenomenal achievement in Beijing, winning eight cycling gold medals, and now it seems their glory could help further a bid for a cycling facility in Ipswich.

As part of plans drawn up more than five years ago, Team Ipswich Cycling wants to build a leisure complex on the edge of Ravenswood featuring a 2.5km off-road mountain bike trail and a 250-metre cycle speedway track.


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The centre would also include a new BMX track, a multi-use area and a hire centre with gym.

Steve Grimwood a leading figure supporting the bid, which also has the support of Ipswich Borough Council, Sport England and British Cycling, said the recent Olympic Games success can only help the cause.

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He said: “Hopefully the success will help convince the powers that be to free up some more money to be available for this type of project. After the Olympic success the team coach said more money needs to be put into grass roots cycling.

“This facility will cater for kids from school doing their cycling proficiency, to people recovering from illness, those wanting to cycle for recreation and those that race as well as finding future stars.”

Architects are currently drawing up plans ready to apply for planning permission by the end of the year.

Mr Grimwood said once planning consent has been achieved, the task of raising the money for the centre will begin with a bid for lottery funding in the pipeline.

Judy Terry, Ipswich Borough's councillor for arts, culture and leisure, said: “The council will support the bid. The land is there and we have been working with Team Ipswich about this over the years to get something done.

“There is a very strong cycling ethos in Ipswich and the council is very strong believer in having a cycling centre here.”

- Olympic fever comes to town

There is already Olympic fever in the town as seven venues in the region were chosen to feature in the national guide for venues for the 2012 games.

They are the Ipswich Gymnastics Centre in Braziers Wood Road, Northgate Sports Centre, Ipswich Town FC, Alton Water, Felixstowe Tennis Club, Bentwaters Park and Otley College.

In June it was announced that Ipswich will host the 2012 European Cyclo-Cross Championships. Cyclo-Cross is a form of bicycle racing, which involves riding over difficult terrain.

- Cycling medals

The British team has achieved incredible success in the cycling, raking in gold, silver and bronze medals.

Gold medallists were Nicole Cooke for the women's road race, Chris Hoy for the men's sprint, men's Keirin, and his part in the men's team sprint (along with Jason Kenny and Jamie Staff), Bradley Wiggins for men's individual pursuit, and his part in the men's team sprint (along with Ed Clancy, Paul Manning and Geraint Thomas), Victoria Pendleton for the women's sprint, and Rebecca Romero for the women's individual pursuit.

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