Cyclists homing in on Waikato

Last updated 05:00 23/02/2013

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As an athlete, Olympic rider Alison Shanks is accustomed to leading the pack.

But her eyes were on a different sort of prize on Friday as she and husband, sport scientist Craig Palmer, went house-hunting in Cambridge

The couple are among the first wave of athletes and officials looking to secure a Waikato home ahead of the opening of the Cambridge velodrome later this year.

Shanks also took in a site tour of the velodrome on Friday and told the Times she was excited about her shift north.

"I've been in Dunedin all my life but the Waikato is a beautiful part of the country," she said.

"When you do so much travelling overseas you realise what a special place New Zealand is."

Shanks said her husband's employment with Bike NZ required him to be near the velodrome, but the couple were happy with the shift.

"You have to go where the jobs are and the direction of New Zealand cycling is all pointing to the Waikato. It's an exciting time."

Home of Cycling Charitable Trust chief executive Geoff Balme said he knew of up to half a dozen athletes or support staff who were looking to buy a house in the Waikato ahead of the velodrome's opening.

The velodrome will feature a world-class 250-metre track and will be linked to BMX, road, trail and mountain biking facilities. The structure will also feature more than 2000 square metres of space for tenants, and a cafe.

Since Christmas, 80 per cent of the steel framing for the administration services building had gone up.

Four out of the 30 12-metre columns had also been erected to hold the roof of the velodrome.

"In March, people driving past the site will see the administration building really taking shape," Mr Balme said.

"As more of the big steel columns get delivered they'll be put around the rest of the velodrome. In early March the first trusses should start going across and people will see the roof of the velodrome take shape. The roof will define how big it's going to be and people will, for the first time, get an appreciation that it's a pretty massive structure."

The velodrome building is 77 metres across and 120 metres long, and at its highest point will beas tall as a six-storey building.

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- Waikato Times

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