Page last updated at 20:02 GMT, Tuesday, 19 August 2008 21:02 UK

On their bikes after Olympic gold

Chris Hoy
Chris Hoy is the first British man in a century to win three golds at a games

The success of the Olympic cycling team in Beijing - winning seven gold medals - is having a knock-on effect at their training ground in Manchester.

The entire team, including triple gold medallist Chris Hoy, all honed their talent at the Manchester Velodrome.

The base for the National Cycling Centre has hosted the 2002 Commonwealth Games and three world championships.

But bosses at the velodrome said the British success story had brought would-be cyclists out in droves.

The 250m track, opened in 1994, has a reputation for speed with a 15 world records set at the venue.

But the training venue for the sport's elite is also open to the public, and success in Beijing has spurred plenty on to give it a go.

We even took a call from someone in Saudi Arabia who wanted a track session here while he was over on business
Jarl Walsh, Velodrome manager

Manchester Velodrome general manager Jarl Walsh said: "We are supposed to be in the off-season for track but the phones have been going crazy.

"The school holiday sessions are fully booked up and we are trying to introduce more sessions.

"Everyone wants to get on a bike in the velodrome where the Olympics stars trained.

"We even took a call from someone in Saudi Arabia who wanted a track session here while he was over on business."

He added: "The Olympic triumphs have added impetus to what was already a success story here.

Olympic champion Victoria Pendleton at the Manchester Velodrome
Golden girl Victoria Pendleton is one of the medallists to train at the velodrome

"Jason Kenny (team sprint gold medallist) started as a youngster at the velodrome.

"People of all ages get to sit in the same area that the elite athletes use and they get to go on the same track, which has to raise aspirations."

Councillor Jim Battle, deputy leader of Manchester City Council, added: "Manchester's Velodrome is the centre of excellence for our home-grown cycling talent and the home of British cycling.

"Along with the other world-class facilities at Sportcity, it makes Manchester stand out on the world sporting map.

"Commitment to sport and regeneration turned the site of an old power station into a world beating powerhouse of sporting excellence and an Olympic medal gold mine."

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