Track Cycling

Eviction from the Geoghegan Velodrome for track cyclists | The Mercury – Independent Online

Picture: Supplied

Picture: Supplied

Durban – AFTER almost 40 years, the Cyril Geoghegan Velodrome may have just closed its doors for the last time, possibly signalling the end of track cycle racing in Durban.

On Friday, the KwaZulu-Natal Track Cycling committee was issued with an eviction notice to vacate the premises in the Jonsson Kings Park sport precinct. According to the letter, issued by Hoy Park management, cyclists were requested to vacate by the end of June, as management would be requiring complete access to the velodrome.

The letter stated that Hoy Park management had been granted a full 30-year lease from December 2018.

In 2014, The Mercury reported that the city had offered a 30-year lease for the land near the Jonsson Kings Park Stadium. This included the site around the velodrome and neighbouring horse- riding fields.

Picture: Supplied

The presentation was made by the provincial government, the eThekwini municipality, the SA Football Association and Hoy Park management, at the Soccerex African Forum in Durban.

The development, to be spread across the entire northern block of the Jonsson Kings Park precinct, will include six synthetic soccer fields, a high-performance centre, a football academy and a hotel.

KZN Track Cycling commissioner Darren Taljard said they had vacated the storage facilities at the velodrome.

“We’ve complied with the eviction notice served on us. Hoy Park management have confirmed that construction work will begin imminently and that it’s unsafe for us to use the facility,” he said.

Taljard said they hoped they could work with Hoy Park management to create a multifunctional facility, which would continue to facilitate the successful cycle development programme implemented over the last few years.

“We hope that they’ll be transparent with us on their construction schedule, so should there be any delay, they’ll grant us interim access for training and race events,” Taljard said.

The track’s former commissioner, Hylton Belitzky, said he was disappointed with the eviction.

Belitzky is the chairperson of the Future Stars Sports Academy, which also runs a developmental programme at the velodrome.

“We have a large number of youth and developmental riders we coach, and some of these kids have worked themselves up to provincial, national and even continental champions,” he said.

Belitzky said he was concerned that the interest in track cycling in KZN could diminish.

Cycling SA’s Mike Bradley said the loss of the velodrome was a massive blow to the programme and track cycling in the country.

He said it was a shame that the city had earmarked the site for another soccer field, as there were so many under-utilised soccer grounds.

Bradley said that while there was a cycle track in Pietermaritzburg, it was far out and too costly for many of the students in the developmental programme.

The Cyril Geoghegan Velodrome was opened in Durban in December 1981.

The eThekwini Municipality had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.

The Mercury