Sean Yates has backed a campaign to save Britain’s oldest velodrome after it was declared unsafe for racing by British Cycling. A petition has also been launched to try and safeguard the future of the track in Preston Park, Brighton.
The governing body last year submitted a list to owners Brighton & Hove City Council of defects that need remedying before the track can be cleared for competitive use.
The council has said that the track is safe for use out of competition, and remains well frequented by cyclists, reports BBC News.
But local campaigners who have launched a Facebook page and a petition to call for repairs to be made fear that with no competitive racing, the days of the facility, which opened in 1878, might be numbered.
The petition was launched by local cyclist Rupert Rivett of the Sussex Cycle Racing League, who told the BBC: "Cyclists that come from this track have gone on to become professionals.
"Without racing, which is the heart of it, we could see this track being lost."
Yates, winner of a Tour de France stage in 1988 and recently appointed sports director at Tinkoff-Saxo, has used the 579-metre track regularly.
He said: "If it's gone, it's gone and that would be a great shame. It's a fantastic facility."
In a statement, British Cycling said it was working with the council to try and bring the track up to standard, but there remained concerns over how such works might be funded, with the council exploring potential sources of finance.
Meanwhile, Rivett has launched a petition on the council’s website to try and save the facility. It reads:
We the undersigned petition Brighton & Hove Council to complete the work needed to make Preston Park Cycle Track suitable for the racing season of 2015. We would also like to see investment in this facility to help make it the centre of excellence for cycling it could be for our area.
The oldest outdoor cycle track in the country is in danger of being lost due to lack of investment and care.
Preston Park Cycle Track has loads of potential for open cycling events which can draw in the crowds from afar if looked after properly.
Please see the potential and save the track.
The petition will be presented to the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee on 17 March 2015.
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