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London 2012 Olympic organizers begin building velodrome

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LONDON - London 2012 organizers have begun construction work on the Olympic velodrome they hope will feature the fastest cycling track in the world.

The 6,000-seat, 105-million-pound (C$188.5 million) indoor venue is being constructed by the same company that built the Manchester Velodrome, where Britain won nine gold medals at last year's world cycling championships.

Organizers said Wednesday that they hoped the building design should maximize crowd noise and help give British cyclists an edge at their home games.

Britain won eight cycling golds at last year's Beijing Olympics, with Chris Hoy winning three to become the Olympics' most successful male cyclist.

Hoy was consulted on the plans for the new velodrome, which will also be used for the 2012 Paralympics.

"The success of our cyclists in Beijing and the growing popularity of cycling in the UK will help give us real momentum," Olympic Delivery Authority chairman John Armitt said. "The start of construction work is a significant milestone in our plans to create a world-class cycling venue with a record-breaking track for events in 2012 and the legacy of first-class facilities to help create the next generation of Olympic champions."

The velodrome will be used by elite athletes and the local community after the Olympics. After 2012, the site will include a cafe, bike rental shop and cycle workshop facilities.

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