Alistair and Jonny Brownlee, Olympic winners and Leeds alumni, will be launching the new University of Leeds centre on Friday 28th April. It is named after them in honour of their sporting successes, most recently in the Rio Olympics where they won gold and silver medals.
The centre will comprise of a cycle track and training facilities for the triathlon event, as it becomes the new triathlon training base for top athletes across Leeds and the country. This is the first purpose-built triathlon centre in the UK.
However, the centre will also be open to the public. Cycling clubs from Leeds city will be able to use it, in addition to a programme of events that includes ‘pay and pedal’ sessions. There will also be bicycles, tricycles and tandem bikes to hire.
Jonny Brownlee was keen to emphasise that, saying the new centre “will inspire everyone, from beginners through to elite athletes.”
Funding for the new centre was provided mainly by the University of Leeds, with an additional £1m coming from Sport England, UK Sport, British Cycling and British Triathlon.
Assistant head of sport at the Uni, Patrick Craig, said: “this is about enhancing the experience for our students.”
He also said the cycle track would be suitable for running and skating.
The number of indoor cycle circuits – a place to practise free from traffic – is very small in the UK in comparison to swimming or running centres. The reason for this is cycling is traditionally done on the road, however, the talks for a new Leeds cycling centre have been going on for some time. Similar facilities have recently opened in other cities in West Yorkshire.
Alistair Brownlee said: “This day marks a great day for cycling in Yorkshire. The start of the Tour de Yorkshire builds on a fantastic legacy and, thanks to these new facilities, Leeds continues to be a real centre for excellence when it comes to cycling and triathlon.”
The launch will coincide with the beginning of the Tour de Yorkshire 2017, which is a three-day road cycling race.