AN OLYMPIC-standard velodrome is to go ahead in Middlesbrough as part of a major “sports village” development.

The £1m velodrome is being funded by Middlesbrough Council and British Cycling, and aims to help make the £18m Sports Village in the town a centre of regional importance.

It will also complement the 1km cycle circuit at Prissick.

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Work on the Sports Village, off Marton Road, starts next month, with the athletics track and temporary changing expected to be in place by October and the first phase of the development due for completion the following May.

Work on the 250m velodrome is also expected to start later this year, with the first cyclists using it next spring.

Tony Hodgson, Chair of British Cycling North East Region, said: “A new velodrome for aspiring track cyclists inspired by the exploits of our Olympians is tremendous news for the sport in the North-East.

“Track cycling is fast, fun and anyone of any age can take part.

“The region has been without such a facility for too long, with all of our youth track development taking place far away, either in Manchester or Glasgow, at considerable cost to local people and demand on volunteer time.

“Once the building work has been completed, we will work with the council to develop a full programme of events to showcase this exciting part of the sport to the full.”

Welcoming the announcement, Middlesbrough Mayor Ray Mallon said: “It is essential that the Middlesbrough Sports Village has the sort of facilities we know people want, and the inclusion of a velodrome has been high on the agenda from day one."