One of the world’s oldest velodromes, an outdoor track at Carmarthen Park in south west Wales, is getting a revamp after 117 years.
The 405-metre track opened on Easter Monday in 1900, since when it has remained in continuous use.
Work has already begun on resurfacing the concrete track, with contractors aiming to complete work in September, reports Wales Online.
Besides bike racing, the venue is also home to the Carmarthen Quins rugby union side and has also hosted events including funfairs, firework displays, and on two occasions the National Eisteddfod.
Carmarthen town and county councillor Alun Lenny said: “It is great to see the building work going ahead.
“Planning consent was granted in April and a formal tendering procedure was then undertaken resulting in GD Harries and Sons Ltd being appointed as the sole contractor.
“The project has taken a few years to get to this point due to the uniquely challenging nature of the work involved,” he continued.
“Several different types of surface had to be tested by cyclists during the last year and ultimately this has resulted in the decision to replace all of the existing concrete – 232 concrete bays – with brand new concrete that hopefully will last another hundred years or so,” Councillor Lenny added.
“We have worked very closely with the local cycling community and the wider national cycling bodies to ensure that the new cycling surface will be fit for purpose and will be of the required standard that will allow national and possibly international competitions to take place once again in Carmarthen.”
The project is being funded by Carmarthen Town Council, Carmarthenshire Council and Sport Wales.
The contractor’s commercial manager, Richard Burton, said: “This is a hugely significant historical and sporting project and we are delighted to have been appointed to do this work for Carmarthen Town Council.”
The two oldest velodromes in the world, both of which are in the UK, have also had extensive refurbishment in recent years following fears that they might have to close.
Those are the Preston Park Velodrome in Brighton, which opened in 1877, and Herne Hill Velodrome in south London, which dates back to 1890 and is the last surviving venue of the 1948 Olympic Games.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.