Welsh velodrome renamed after Tour winner Thomas

Thomas prepared for the 2012 Olympics at the velodrome in Newport

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Thomas prepared for the 2012 Olympics at the velodrome in Newport

Wales’ National Velodrome will be renamed in honour of Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas, it has been announced.

The cycling venue in Newport will become the Geraint Thomas National Velodrome of Wales.

In July, Thomas became the third Briton to win the world’s most famous road race.

The double Olympic team pursuit champion said: “It’s a huge honour – I can’t quite believe it if I’m honest!”

Thomas, 32, has trained at the velodrome – the home of governing body Welsh Cycling – since it opened in 2003.

He used the facility before the 2012 Olympics in London where he was part of a Team GB pursuit squad that defended their gold medal.

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Thomas and members of Team GB track cycling in Newport watching Bradley Wiggins win the 2012 Tour de France

Thomas also trained at the venue as part of his preparations for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, where he won two medals, including road race gold.

This summer marked his greatest personal triumph when he emerged victorious after 21 stages around France.

Thomas said: “The Velodrome has played a pivotal part in my cycling story and continues to play such a key role in inspiring the next generation of cyclists in South Wales.

“It’s a fantastic facility for riders of all ages and abilities to hone their talents.

“I would personally like to thank everyone who has played a part in this and look forward to seeing everyone for the grand opening.”

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The cyclist was thanked “on behalf of Wales” by First Minister Carwyn Jones

Thousands of people lined the streets of Cardiff earlier this month as Wales officially welcomed the cyclist home.

He was congratulated by First Minister Carwyn Jones at the Senedd before cycling through the city centre to a ceremony outside Cardiff Castle in front of an estimated 8,000 fans.

Newport Live, the charitable trust that runs the velodrome, said the venue has seen a “significant increase” in inquiries to use the track since Thomas’ Tour success.

Chairman John Harrhy said: “We were all thrilled with Geraint’s historic Tour de France victory and the board and our key partners were immediately unanimous in supporting the renaming of the velodrome in Geraint’s honour.”

‘Entirely fitting’

Having Thomas’ name attached to the cycling centre will act as an inspiration for future riders, Mr Harrhy added.

Thomas is due to return to Newport next month with Team Sky when the opening stage of the Tour of Britain finishes in the city on Sunday 2 September.

Newport City Council leader Debbie Wilcox said: “Geraint has spoken of what [the velodrome] has meant to him, so it is entirely fitting that Newport bestows this honour on him.”

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2018 Tour de France champion Thomas and four-time winner Chris Froome

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-45222785

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