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Velódromo Municipal do Rio
Rio2016 julho ParqueOlimpico Barra 012 8301 -c-2016 GabrielHeusi HeusiAction.jpg
Aerial view of the Rio Olympic Velodrome
Location Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Coordinates 22°58′28.93″S 43°23′32.04″W / 22.9747028°S 43.3922333°W / -22.9747028; -43.3922333Coordinates: 22°58′28.93″S 43°23′32.04″W / 22.9747028°S 43.3922333°W / -22.9747028; -43.3922333
Capacity 5,000
Construction
Opened 25 July 2016
Construction cost R$ 143.6 million
(US$ 44.82 million)
Architect Schuermann
Main contractors Tecnosolo S.A (former)
Engetécnica (current)

The Rio Olympic Velodrome, officially the Velódromo Municipal do Rio (Rio Municipal Velodrome), is a velodrome located in the Barra Olympic Park sports complex in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Built as a replacement for the former Barra Velodrome, the venue hosted track cycling events during the 2016 Summer Olympics, and is scheduled to host track cycling events during the 2016 Summer Paralympics. After the conclusion of the games, the velodrome will form part of the Olympic Training Center.

Contents

DesignEdit

The Rio Olympic Velodrome was designed by Schuermann Architects, a German design group led by Ralph Schuermann.[1] The group had previously designed the Laoshan Velodrome for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, along with six other Olympic cycling venues and twenty World Championship venues.[2][3] The wooden track is made from timber sourced from the Siberian pine, considered to be the fastest surface for track cycling.[2]

HistoryEdit

Demolition of Barra VelodromeEdit

 
Interior view of the Barra Velodrome, a predecessor venue that was planned to hold Olympic cycling events, but was deemed unsuitable by the International Cycling Union.

The Barra Velodrome, one of three venues built as part of the City of Sports Complex in Barra da Tijuca for the 2007 Pan American Games, was originally planned to host cycling events for the 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics. The original plan for the expansion of the City of Sports Complex into the current-day Barra Olympic Park would have seen the Barra Velodrome receive minor upgrades to prepare it for the Olympics.[4] However, in early 2013, the International Cycling Union (UCI), the governing body of sports cycling, deemed the velodrome as unsuitable for hosting Olympic events, citing pillars obscuring the view of spectators and judges, and cyclists' inability to reach significant speeds on the track.[5] The cost of upgrading the venue to UCI standards was seen as equally as expensive as building a completely new venue,[6] and thus it was decided that the Barra Velodrome was to be demolished in favour of building a new one at a different site in the park.[7] After the Barra Velodrome was demolished, work on the Rio Olympic Velodrome began, with British firm 3D Reid, who designed the Commonwealth Arena and Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, was chosen alongside Rio de Janeiro-based firm BLAC Architects to help advise design development of the Velodrome.[8][9] Tenders to construct and operate the venue were opened in October 2013 and won by Brazilian engineering firm Tecnosolo S.A, at a budget of R$136.9 million.[5] The cost did not include the budget for track installation, which was to be the responsibility of the Olympic Organizing Committee.[5]

Construction, setbacks and progressEdit

Construction of the velodrome was marred by many issues and controversies, which included numerous delays, poor working conditions and financial difficulties. As with every track cycling venue purpose-built for the Olympics since the 1960 games, the Rio Olympic Velodrome faced cost overruns by its final year of construction.[10] Olympic Games Executive Director Gilbert Felli warned as early as November 2014 that the velodrome had become a concern for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) – the venue was originally planned to be complete by the end of 2015, but delays had organizers worried that it would not open until early 2016 instead, despite the UCI pressing that this would not be the case.[11] Mayor of Rio de Janeiro Eduardo Paes admitted in December 2014 that work on the velodrome was three weeks behind schedule,[12] and evaluations by the IOC in February 2015 found that substantial work still remained in order for the venue to be complete by scheduled test events prior to the Olympics, describing "very aggressive timelines that will need to be met over the coming months."[13][14] Despite these troubles, Mário Andrada, a spokesperson for the Rio Organizing Committee, stated, "the delays they cited concern the test events and not to the Games... the velodrome, even though a little late, will not impact the test event. We are counting on it."[15]

"There is no plan B. There is not another usable velodrome in Brazil as far as I know and there has to be a velodrome. The building is virtually there, timings are the issue. But that’s not just true for the velodrome, it’s the same for other venues. They’ve had well-publicised problems, but I want to be supportive and the UCI will help as much as we can."

President of the International Cycling Union Brian Cookson[16]

In April 2015, construction was temporarily suspended by Brazil's Ministry of Labor and Employment, claiming a "grave and imminent danger to the physical safety of workers."[17] The ministry cited their concerns for "the absence of collective protection", and risk of workers falling, in addition to lack of security, no technical report on the stability of slopes at the site, and what was described as a potentially hazardous "accumulation of material".[18] The temporary suspension added even more stress on the construction's timetable, with works being sped up significantly afterwards, with the Organising Committee stressing that "work was back on track."[17] Unfortunately, delays proved to be a valid concern, when cycling test events originally scheduled to take place at the Velodrome on 18 – 20 March 2016 were rescheduled to 29 April – 1 May, due to a delay in the installation of the velodrome's track.[19] Blame was put on poor conditions for the installation of the Siberian-sourced timber, which could potentially lead to the wood warping and bending.[20][21] It was by then that President of the UCI Brian Cookson made public his concerns about the completion of the venue, bluntly stating to the media, in a press conference after the 2016 UCI Track Cycling World Championships, that completing the venue in time for test events in late April was "a challenge", and that "if the velodrome is not ready in time, there is no plan B."[16]

 
Exterior view of the velodrome and surrounding venues, during the final stages of construction in May 2016.

By late March 2016, however, the track was still not installed, and the planned test event that was delayed to late April was completely cancelled,[22] leaving the venue untested through competition until the Olympics themselves in August.[23] The Organising Committee cited "logistical problems" with the import of raw materials from Serbia; the wood arrived late into Rio's summer, and the city's high humidity meant that the sensitive surface could not be laid as quickly as expected.[24] Comments by Mayor Paes that the velodrome was only 85 percent complete,[25] contradicting earlier comments on the venue being near-completion, only fueled more concern, as the Organising Committee set 31 May as the projected date for the venue's completion,[26] and that opportunities for Olympic cyclists to train at the venue will be held on 25 – 27 June.[24] Troubles further escalated when Tecnosolo, the venue's construction and operation contractor, filed for bankruptcy in late May.[27] The municipal government of Rio de Janeiro cancelled the contract with Tecnosolo shortly afterwards, saying in a statement that the company "did not have the conditions to continue being technically responsible for the construction of the velodrome". Brazilian real estate firm Engetécnica, who were previously hired as a subcontractor for the venue in February, were hired to replace Tecnosolo and finish construction of the velodrome.[28] By the end of May, the track had finally been installed, with the venue estimated to be 88 percent complete, and training days in the venue for cyclists still penned for late June.[29][30]

On 26 June 2016, a month before the start of the 2016 Summer Olympics, the Rio Olympic Organizing Committee finally took possession of the velodrome, marking the end of construction. The very first training events held at the venue took place the previous day.[31] The venue's opening was not without controversy, however, when state prosecutors inquired about the selection of Engetécnica and subcontractor company Zadar for construction and operation contracts, without a proper bidding process.[32] The municipal government of Rio de Janeiro stated that "the city could not stop the works to comply with time requirements", affirming that there was no time for a public bidding process under the velodrome's tight construction schedule, and that Zadar and Engetécnica were hired under emergency contracts.[32] Additional works on the velodrome were completed on 10 July, and Olympic cyclists were allowed access on 24 July, two weeks prior to the start of the games.[31]

Track recordsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Connors, Will (7 July 2016). "An Optimist's Guide to the Rio Olympics". The Wall Street Journal. News Corp (Dow Jones & Company). Archived from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Walsh, Lindsay (18 May 2016). "Track Cycling In The Olympics The Rio 2016 Velodrome". Mpora. Archived from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  3. ^ Henrys, Colin (9 August 2016). "Rio 2016: a beginner's guide to track cycling at the Olympics". Road Cycling UK. Archived from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  4. ^ Vinter, Phil (18 September 2012). "Roll on Rio: Stunning waterfront plans unveiled for Brazil 2016's Olympic Park - designed by British designers who made London such a success". Daily Mail. Daily Mail and General Trust. Archived from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c PSAM staff (18 October 2013). "Rio tender for Olympic Velodrome – construction budget R$136.9m". PanStadia & Arena Management. Alad Ltd. Archived from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  6. ^ Lavelle, Moira; Troop, William (3 August 2015). "Rio may not be as ready to host the Olympics as it thought". Public Radio International. WGBH Educational Foundation. Archived from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  7. ^ Downie, Andrew (3 April 2013). "The Stadiums of Rio: Why They Are Not Yet Ready for the Olympics". Time. Time Warner. Archived from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  8. ^ BBC News staff (12 March 2013). "UK firms win Rio 2016 Olympic contracts". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  9. ^ Frearson, Amy (3 September 2013). "Rio 2016 Olympic Park by AECOM". Dezeen. Archived from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  10. ^ Gordon, Kalani (5 August 2015). "The Rio Olympics are 1 year away". The Baltimore Sun. Tronc. Archived from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  11. ^ Bisson, Mark (12 November 2014). "UCI Officials Head to Rio Amid Olympic Velodrome Concerns". Around the Rings. Archived from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  12. ^ Indo-Asian News Service (22 December 2014). "Rio puts preparation on track for 2016 Olympic Games". Firstpost. Network 18 (Reliance Industries). Archived from the original on 10 January 2015. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  13. ^ BBC News staff (25 February 2015). "Rio 2016: IOC happy with Olympic preparations - as dead fish found". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  14. ^ Stevens, Samuel (26 February 2015). "Thousands of dead fish wash up in Rio bay, but IOC claim 'solid progress' is being made". The Independent. Independent Print Limited. Archived from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  15. ^ Flueckiger, Lisa (24 March 2015). "Final Olympic Preparations On in Rio With 500 Days to Go". The Rio Times. Brazil News Agency, Inc. Archived from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  16. ^ a b Fotheringham, William (5 March 2016). "'No plan B' if Olympic velodrome not ready on time, warns cycling chief". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Archived from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  17. ^ a b Reuters (30 April 2015). "Safety concerns halt Rio Olympics construction". ABC News Australia. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  18. ^ VeloNews staff (30 April 2015). "Rio velodrome construction may halt amid concerns about worker safety". VeloNews. Competitor Group, Inc. Archived from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  19. ^ Homfray, Reece (23 February 2016). "Cycling Rio Olympics 2016: Australia not worried about late scout mission of Rio's new velodrome". The Advertiser. News Corp Australia. Archived from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  20. ^ Associated Press (5 March 2016). "Rio Olympics velodrome may not be ready for test event". CBC News. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  21. ^ Whittle, Ian (5 March 2016). "Cycling events in danger with delays at Rio Olympics, believes UCI president Brian Cookson". Daily Express. Northern and Shell Media. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  22. ^ Associated Press (24 March 2016). "Rio Olympic cycling test event cancelled with no wooden track in velodrome". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Archived from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  23. ^ Lowell, Hugo (25 March 2016). "Rio Olympic velodrome delays force cancellation of test event amid widening corruption scandal". Euronews. Euronews SA. Archived from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  24. ^ a b Brooks, Bradley (25 March 2016). "Rio Olympics 2016: Cycling test event cancelled because velodrome not ready". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  25. ^ Australian Associated Press (28 April 2016). "Unfinished velodrome a concern for Rio". SBS World News. Special Broadcasting Service. Archived from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  26. ^ Mcgeehan, Matt (26 March 2016). "Rio 2016 Olympics organisers insist velodrome will be ready by end of May after cancelling two test events". Daily Mail. Daily Mail and General Trust. Archived from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  27. ^ Culter, Teddy (31 May 2016). "Rio 2016: Olympic Velodrome Project Hit by Bankruptcy". Newsweek. Newsweek LLC. Archived from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  28. ^ Reuters (30 May 2016). "Olympic velodrome builder's contract cancelled by Rio city government". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Archived from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  29. ^ Farlow, Sean (31 May 2016). "Rio Cancels Contract With Company Building Olympic Velodrome". The Gazette Review. Archived from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  30. ^ Associated Press (30 May 2016). "Velodrome: Most delayed Rio Olympic venue hits another snag". Chicago Tribune. Tronc. Archived from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  31. ^ a b Associated Press (26 June 2016). "Delayed velodrome for Rio Olympics almost ready to go". USA Today. Gannett Company. Archived from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  32. ^ a b Eisenhammer, Stephen (14 July 2016). "Brazil prosecutors probe Olympic velodrome, equestrian contracts". Reuters. Thomson Reuters. Archived from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 

External linksEdit