Updated: Saturday, 18th November 2017 @ 8:06am

Olympic champion Chris Boardman says Manchester deserves its reputation as national home of cycling

Olympic champion Chris Boardman says Manchester deserves its reputation as national home of cycling

By Steven Oldham, Sports Correspondent

Chris Boardman MBE believes Manchester is now reaping the rewards of ploughing money into cycling before the sport’s boom years.

The 1992 Olympic gold medallist spoke to MM at Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM)’s Piccadilly headquarters.

He said: “Manchester invested in the sport when it wasn’t big in this country.  Facilities like the Velodrome ensure the city deserves its reputation as the national home of cycling.”

“We’re now seeing businesses and companies getting behind cycling to continue this good work.  The city continues to walk the walk and talk the talk to back cycling.”

Since 1992, British cyclists have won 11 gold medals including eight at the 2008 Beijing Games.  The Manchester Velodrome opened in 1994 and is the base for British Cycling and several Olympians past and present.

Chris was in Manchester to back TfGM’s £4.9m plan to improve facilities for commuters using bikes to get into work.

The Government’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund has provided the money, which will provide over 1,000 secure cycle spaces across several centres across Greater Manchester.

The first centres are due to open next year and will also provide cyclists a place to shower before heading to work.

Chris is keen for as many people as possible to get on their bikes again and get involved.

“I am really interested in getting people back on their bikes.  It takes things like this to use their bikes again.”

“I walked here today from the Velodrome and it took 30 minutes.  You can do the journey quicker on a bike than in a car and there are some really good cycling routes in the city,” he said.

TfGM’s employees are today taking part in a virtual bike ride to London in aid of Children in Need with the hope of raising thousands for the charity.

Boardman’s appearance in the city precedes the Cycling Revolution event at Manchester Velodrome on Sunday where Olympians including Mark Cavendish, Ed Clancy and Geraint Thomas will be in action.

Tickets are sold out but ITV4 are showing highlights on Monday night at 9pm.