Chile to build world-class velodrome in Santiago’s Peñalolén

Covered bicycle track will vault the South American cycling nation onto the world stage, says national team coach.

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The South American cycling powerhouse already has the Andes – the second-highest mountain range in the world – and the range of conditions necessary to train world-class cyclists. Now, Chile’s cyclists are getting ready for a third edge in the international competition: a state-of-the-art, covered race track.

The new velodrome will be built in the existing athletic park in the Santiago neighborhood of Peñalolén, in the eastern foothills of the Andes that flank the capital.

Construction is slated to begin early next year, and the US$10 million project will be ready to host the 2014 Odesur Games, a prestigious regional athletic event.

The covered race track will have a wooden track, permitting cyclists to reach speeds of over 37 mph (60 km/h).

National team coach and former cyclist Víctor Garrido said the velodrome would immediately improve the competitiveness of an already respected team.

“This is an exponential improvement in the history of our sport. This important announcement means we can start thinking now about world medals and the Olympic Games,” Garrido said.

The design is similar to the Guadalajara velodrome in Mexico that hosted the recent Panamerican Games, where Chilean athletes enjoyed their best medal count ever including two silver medals for cycling.

National team cyclists Luis Sepúlveda, Pablo Seisdedos, Antonio Cabrera and Gonzalo Miranda won Chile’s first silver medal of the games during the 4×4000 relay race. A few days later, cyclist Luis Mansilla also won a silver medal for Chile in a six event competition.

The velodrome will also allow Chile to start hosting more international competitions, most notably the Odesur Games, which will be held throughout Santiago in 2014.

“We will be able to hold events on the world stage and think about better developing our sport… now it will be the French, the Russians, the Italians and English, among others, who will be coming to Chile to compete – something which a few years ago, was only a dream,” Garrido added.