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Sir Chris Hoy among supporters for arena plan in Inverness

By Andrew Dixon

SCOTLAND’S greatest Olympian is backing efforts to bring an indoor cycle track and sports centre to Inverness Campus.

Sir Chris Hoy, along with Grantown cyclist Craig MacLean, were named as celebrity supporters of the Highland Velodrome Trust’s (HiVelo) plans at a public meeting held on Sunday at Inverness Royal Academy.

HiVelo also announced it would be aiming to raise £1 million through crowdfunding over the next 12 months, which will go towards the indoor cycling track forming part of the Highland Arena sports and events centre.

Sir Chris Hoy is backing the arena idea. Picture: Mark Harkin
Sir Chris Hoy is backing the arena idea. Picture: Mark Harkin

Olympic cycling gold medallist Katie Archibald, who is a staunch advocate for the project, was expected to speak at a meeting, however her car got stuck in snow at Glasgow and she was unable to make her train connection north.

Around 60 people attended the meeting where the timetable for the project was outlined and a completion date of January 2022 set.

A new group Highland Arena Ltd will also be established in the next few months to take over from HiVelo and bring it to fruition.

Mike Greaves, secretary for HiVelo, said: “This is not only for elite cyclists, it will be great to bring on younger cyclists and get them going, and for those who want to get fitter. But this will be much more than a velodrome. There will be a multi-sports and activities centre catering for sports from table tennis to five-a-side football.”

HiVelo will embark on a series of meetings with community councils and other groups to generate more public support.

In a statement on the group’s website, Sir Chris Hoy said: “The Highlands and Inverness in particular, has a strong tradition in cycling, constantly producing a string of successful track cyclists over the years who have competed all the way up to Olympic and world level.

“I have fond memories of racing BMX at the track in Inverness at the start of my career and it would be fantastic to see a velodrome built there to nurture future generations of champions and recreational cyclists alike in the north of Scotland.”

Ms Archibald, who is based in Manchester, is planning a visit to Inverness in support of the project soon.

She said: “There is a renewed push to get this facility built.

“It’s an exciting project and an opportunity to develop sport in the Highlands.”

A planning application is expected to be lodged in June.

Donations can be made via www.hivelo.org

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