MP vows to help road racing during Manchester Velodrome visit

Sport and Olympics minister promises to back grass roots road racing

During a visit to the Manchester Velodrome yesterday Hugh Robertson MP – Sport and Olympics Minister – promised to help resolve obstacles to road racing by working closely with the DfT and Home Office.

The minister highlighted the problem that affects grass roots cycling, something Robertson said was a key step for budding cycle chamions.

British Cycling chief exec Ian Drake, director of policy and legal affairs Martin Gibbs and performance director David Brailsford showed off the facility while four-time Olympic cyclist Chris Hoy was put through his paces for afternoon training. Rising star Jess Varnish was also present alongside multi-medal winning Paralympians Jody Cundy and Sarah Storey.

“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," praised Hugh Robertson MP. "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.

“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.”

British Cycling’s CEO Ian Drake added: “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.”

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