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British Cycling president Bob Howden has today welcomed the opening of the new Derby Arena, supported by £845,000 of British Cycling investment.

The facility is home to a 250-metre Olympic regulation indoor cycle track, holds 1,500 spectators, and will play host to local, national and international events.

British Cycling has part-funded the new arena, contributing £845,000 to the project from its Sport England Whole Sport Plan capital award.

Speaking ahead of the launch event, British Cycling president Bob Howden said:

“Expanding the nationwide network of traffic-free cycling facilities is a key ambition for British Cycling and we are continually supporting and investing in projects to offer cycling opportunities for all.

“Traffic free facilities are key to increasing participation in all disciplines of cycling and we will continue to work with funding partners such as Sport England to support projects nationwide.

“With over two million people now riding their bikes at least once a week in this country, the new velodrome will give even more people the opportunity to get involved in our fantastic sport.

“I’d like to thank Sport England for their support and offer huge credit to Derby City Council who had the vision and determination to see through a project which will transform cycling in all its forms in the city and across the Midlands.”

Members of the public can attend an opening weekend on 28 and 29 March and will be able to go on a tour, take part in taster sessions and get an insight into what the arena has to offer.

Councillor Alison Martin, Derby City Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure and Culture said:

“This truly has been a unique project and I want to thank British Cycling for their on-going commitment and support. The new state of the art facilities will act as a catalyst for positive change to meet the aspirations of hundreds of thousands of people in and around Derby.

“In the wake of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, we wanted to create an innovative legacy for Derby which supported wider participation and motivate and inspire current and future generations of local people to be active. Sport and physical activity make a vital impact in many important areas such as improving health, tackling obesity and helping to build strong communities.”

Derby Arena is now the fifth 250-metre indoor velodrome in Britain, alongside Manchester, Glasgow, Newport and Lee Valley.

Dame Sarah Storey, who trained on the track in preparation for her attempt at the Hour Record said:

“Having an indoor facility for cycling in this area opens the sport up to thousands more people and offers residents across the Midlands the opportunity to try track cycling for the first time in a safe and controlled environment.

“The track itself is absolutely superb and having a facility like this one available to me when I was preparing for my hour attempt was invaluable.”

Twenty of British Cycling’s local Go-Ride clubs will also have access to the facility through track cluster sessions held weekly.

East Midlands regional development manager, Anthony Gill said:

“It’s great that clubs from the Midlands now have access to the Derby Arena. Clubs and riders will benefit hugely from this exclusive opportunity to access one of the best facilities in the country.”