Manchester Velodrome
Manchester Velodrome inside
Personal informations
Location Manchester, England
Capacity 3,500
Field size 250 metre track
Opened September 1994
Architect FaulknerBrowns Architects[1]
Services engineer R.V. Webb (Velodrome track)

Manchester Velodrome is an indoor cycle-racing track in Manchester, England, which opened in 1994. Part of the National Cycling Centre, it was the only indoor Olympic-standard track in the United Kingdom before the completion of the London Velopark for the 2012 Summer Olympics.

The facility is owned by Manchester City Council and has been home to British Cycling since 1994, and the UCI ProTeam Team Sky since it formed in 2009. It is next to the City of Manchester Stadium, and the National Indoor BMX Arena which opened in 2011, and hosted track cycling events in the 2002 Commonwealth Games, the Revolution series and the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in 1996, 2000 and 2008. It also hosted the 20th edition of the UCI World Masters Track Cycling Championships in 2014. The velodrome has been cited as a catalyst for Britain's successes in track cycling since 2002.[2]


The Manchester Velodrome was developed as a joint venture between Sport England, Manchester City Council and British Cycling, who recognised the need for an Olympic-standard facility in the United Kingdom to improve British track cycling. Funding was provided by the Government, through the Department of the Environment (£6.5m), the Sports Council (£2m) and the Foundation for Sport and the Arts (£1m). Manchester City Council is the freehold owner and the centre is managed by The Velodrome Trust.

The velodrome was designed by FaulknerBrowns Architects and has garnered a reputation for speed since its opening. The centre’s roof structure is based around a 122-metre, 200 tonne arch allowing for an unrestricted viewing area for spectators. Covered by an aluminium roof, the total structure weighs around 600 tonnes. The track is 250 metres long and its bankings reach 42 degrees in the middle. The track is as steep at the top as it is on the black (racing) line. On 21 May 2007 the velodrome closed for resurfacing in Siberian pine at a cost of £400,000. It reopened on 16 July 2007, and is considered a smoother ride.[3]

By 30 March 2008, more than 15 world records had been set, including Chris Boardman's 1996 and 2000 hour records and the 4000 metre team pursuit record set by the Great Britain men's team at the 2008 World Championships.

The UCI hour record set by Boardman in the Best Human Effort category in 1996,[4] was rescinded by UCI in 2000 and subsequent attempts at breaking Eddy Merckx's 1972 record stopped as UCI believed advanced bicycle technology gave cyclists too much help.[5] Boardman set out to break the record on a bike comparable to Eddy Merckx's 1972 machine. He surpassed the record at the velodrome in 2000, achieving a distance of 49.444 km as against the 1972 record of 49.431 km, and then retired.[6]

The velodrome has become a popular venue for cyclists with taster and practice sessions frequently booked up several weeks in advance.[7] In 2011, the National Indoor BMX Arena was opened next to the velodrome.[8] Plans proposed in 2012 included a mountain bike trail on Clayton Vale, which would be the first facility of its kind in the United Kingdom and would aim to replicate Britain's performance on the track in mountain biking.[9]


The Revolution Series opened in 2003 to build on events such as the world championships and World Cup meetings and provide more regular events. There were four Revolution events over the winter of 2003-04. They built good crowds. The seventh, in 2005, sold all the seats with further fans standing. The first official sell-out was Revolution 14. The series of sprint and endurance events runs on Saturday nights. Internationals compete with British stars and up-and-coming talent. Some riders have retired at Revolution events, rewarded with a retirement presentation. A Future Stars competition has races for young riders aged 15 or 16 to test their sprint and endurance. Olympic riders Jason Kenny and Steven Burke came up through this series. In 2012 it was announced that Revolution events would take place at the recently opened London Velodrome and Glasgow Velodrome from 2013.

Other eventsEdit

On 2 July 2009 Kraftwerk performed at the velodrome as part of the 2009 Manchester International Festival. As they performed Tour de France, four members of the British Olympic cycling team entered and rode laps of the track.