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Olympic velodrome will be finished this month, insist Rio organisers

New contractor appointed after previous builder filed for bankruptcy protection

Organisers of the Olympic Games in Rio insist that the velodrome due to hold the track cycling events will be completed this month, enabling riders to train there ahead of going for gold in August.

Earlier this week, the contract with the firm that had been building the venue was cancelled after it filed for bankruptcy protection.

The contract has now been awarded to Engetecnica, a sub-contractor on the much-delayed project, reports Reuters.

With just two months to go before the opening ceremony, other issues of concern include the Zika virus and political instability as a result of the impeachment and forthcoming trial of President Dilma Rousseff.

Presenting the organising committee’s final progress report to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne, its president Carlos Nuzman said the velodrome “will be in condition for athletes to train” by the end of this month.

A test event at the venue was first postponed to April then cancelled as it became clear that the venue would not be ready, and the UCI has become increasingly worried about whether it will be ready in time for the Games.

In a statement last week, it said: “The UCI remains extremely concerned about ongoing delays to the construction of the Velodrome and have raised regular concerns with the Rio 2016 Organising Committee and the IOC.

“It has been a very difficult process and the fact that these delays have pushed back any form of test event is very worrying.

“There is still a lot of work to do to ensure that riders have the best competition conditions possible. Time really is running out.”

In recent days, USA road cyclist Tejay van Garderen, whose wife is pregnant, ruled himself out of contention for Rio as a result of concerns over the Zika virusm which is carried by mosquitos and can cause birth defects.

But Guzman, citing the World Health Organization, told the IOC that there were no grounds for changing the venue of the Olympics.

A spokesman for the organising committee said: "We had zero cases of Zika in 44 test events involving 7,000 athletes and 8,000 volunteers."

Ruling out the launch of a public information campaign, he added: “Women planning to get pregnant have to take extra care and it is up to them and their families to decide."

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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