Six months is a long time in sport, but 21 years is even longer and that’s how long the National Cycling Centre in Manchester has been open for.
It’s where the Revolution Series was born and developed, so with six months to go until the Manchester leg of the Champions League, we asked some of the Series’ star riders just what it is about that track that makes it so special.
Established 14 years ago, the Revolution Series has developed into the world’s premier track cycling series that sees the best riders from the track go head to head with the world’s top professional road teams to determine the ultimate cycling champion.
And triple Olympic champion Ed Clancy could not say enough about the difference the Manchester fans make when pounding round the boards in search of points for his JLT Condor team.
“Manchester is still my favourite track – we see it a lot but it still feels like home – it’s where it all started and this is where all the hard work has been done, for the last three Olympic cycles for myself,” said the 32-year-old, speaking at the launch of Season 15 of the Revolution Track Cycling Series.
“Sometimes you start taking it for granted and think of it as another day at the office.
“But I haven’t been back much since the Olympics and when you come back here, after four or five months, it still makes me a bit nervous pulling up in the car park.
“I still get a buzz about seeing this place, and looking around all the kids riding, it still feels like the home of cycling.”
The Revolution Series returns this year with the opening UK Championship event in Glasgow on October 14, before three Champions League rounds in London (November 25), Glasgow (December 2) and Manchester (January 6).
Clancy has ridden much of his career with Team Wiggins’ Andy Tennant, with the pair competing together for Great Britain in the team pursuit on numerous occasions.
The pair are such good friends that Clancy was even best man at Tennant’s wedding, and he too says the Manchester track cannot be beaten.
“Manchester is always the best for me – it feels like home more than any of the others, I know the track more than any of the others as well,” he said.
“Glasgow has got quite steep transition into the banking, whereas this is quite forgiving and quite flowing.”
And Emily Kay, part of British Cycling’s podium programme for track endurance riders, was in agreement with her colleagues.
“Manchester is really special for me, it’s where I live, train and I do everything here – it’s where I first rode on track – I was about seven or eight, I hired the smallest bike they had but it was still too big for me,” she said of the National Cycling Centre.
“This is where it all started for me, and it’s special to be here as a full-time cyclist.”
See the world’s best road teams take on the champions of the track in the Revolution Track Cycling Series. Tickets now on sale here.