News: Hugh Robertson MP Visits British Cycling

News: Hugh Robertson MP Visits British Cycling

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Hugh Robertson MP, Sport and Olympics Minister, today visited the Manchester Velodrome to see first-hand how Britain’s cyclists are preparing ahead of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London. Having been welcomed by British Cycling Chief Executive Ian Drake, and Director of Policy and Legal Affairs Martin Gibbs, Robertson was led to the track centre by Dave Brailsford, Performance Director, to see for himself some of Britain’s leading sprint track riders and para-cyclists being put through their paces in an afternoon training session.

EIS analyst Chris White (right) explains to the Minister how GB is using the latest technology to get video feedback from the stands to the hands of the coaches in the track centre. Also present here are Shane Sutton, middle left, and Dave Brailsford, left.

This gave the Minister a unique insight into the cutting edge techniques used to ensure Britain’s riders reach the major championships in the best possible shape. Among those on track were four-time Olympic Gold medallist Sir Chris Hoy and rising star Jess Varnish, alongside top Paralympians Jody Cundy and Sarah Storey.

Hugh Robertson MP said: “You can’t help but be 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 easy to see how British Cycling has achieved the success it has enjoyed over the past few years and I remain committed to helping ensure they, and all our other Olympic and Paralympic sports, can continue to build on this through London and beyond."

Four time Olympic champion Chris Hoy talks to Hugh Robertson MP, Sport and Olympics Minister about his training for 2012.

That is not just about funding at the elite level, but also doing what we can to ensure the next generation of stars get the right opportunities to begin their sporting journey. For example, I am acutely aware of the problems British Cycling has faced with regard to the issue of road racing on the highways and my officials are working hard to resolve those with the Department of Transport and the Home Office. This is important as grass-roots road racing has been a key stepping stone on the route to the top for so many of today’s cycling heroes.

Whilst at the Velodrome, Robertson also met Terry Byrne and Jon-Allan Butterworth who joined the Great Britain Para-Cycling Team via Battle Back, a scheme between Paralympics GB and the Ministry of Defence which helps wounded service personnel return to an active life with the help of adventure training and sport.

British Cycling's Chief Executive, Ian Drake, said: “It’s a real boost for everyone to have the Minister visit. Not only did it give us the opportunity to thank him for his considerable efforts in protecting sports funding in the recent spending review, but also to show him the effort we go to in order to squeeze out maximum return for every penny of the public money we receive. We don’t underestimate the importance of this, particularly during these difficult economic times, and we are determined to ensure that the success we achieve at the top level acts as an inspiration and translates into more people discovering the joy of cycling across the nation.

Media Photos: Click here to view high res images of the visit