The Prime Minister with athlete Ed Clancy and British Cycling's Performance Director Dave Brailsford
David Cameron, who is in Manchester this week for the Conservative Party Conference, today visited British Cycling to see first-hand how the national governing body and its athletes are preparing for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London.
The Prime Minister was greeted by British Cycling President Brian Cookson, Chief Executive Ian Drake and Performance Director David Brailsford as well as Eamonn O'Rourke, Head of Sport & Leisure Services at Manchester City Council. The Prime Minister was then introduced to current Olympic Champions Ed Clancy and Paul Manning, who is also the GB Cycling Team Women's Endurance Coach as he talked Mr Cameron through the team's training at the Manchester Velodrome and spoke to him about their hopes for London 2012.
The Prime Minister was then led to the adjacent BMX Indoor Arena to meet BMX World Time Trial Champion Shanaze Reade and watch her in training. The BMX Arena, which opened recently as part of the London 2012 legacy plan, is one of the world's few indoor BMX tracks and Shanaze spoke of her excitement at preparing for next year at this superb venue.
British Cycling also explained to the Prime Minister its concerns over the future of road racing in the UK and asked him to support the work being done by the Department for Transport and the Department for Culture Media and Sport to modernise the regulations which govern road racing.
The Prime Minister said: "I have been very impressed by the set-up here in Manchester, both in terms of the facilities which are second to none, but also the sense of professionalism and winning mentality you see in the coaches and riders alike.
"It is inspirational to see how British Cycling has achieved the success it has enjoyed over the past few years and I look forward to watching our cyclists in action at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games."
British Cycling President, Brian Cookson said: "It is a great honour for everyone at British Cycling to have the Prime Minister here and his visit could not have come at a better time. Only last week Mark Cavendish claimed a world title for Britain in the Men's Road Race, making cycling history, and we also celebrated doubling our membership since 2007 to 40,000 members.
"Not only are we on track with our elite performance, we are also on target to get one million more people cycling regularly and increase weekly participation to 125,000 by 2013, and are delivering a fantastic participation legacy of a home Olympic and Paralympic Games."
"I would like to thank the Prime Minister for showing such keen interest in our sport and I am confident that our staff and athletes will take inspiration from his visit see it as a massive boost on the final approach to London 2012."
Paralympic Champions Sarah Storey and Barney Storey were also at the Conservative Party Conference today, joining Culture, Media, Sport and Olympic Secretary Jeremy Hunt on stage to talk of their preparations for London 2012.