SPORTS

Pan Am velodrome hosts first test event

01/04/2015 05:42 EST | Updated 03/06/2015 05:59 EST
The country's best indoor cyclists are taking a spin on a new track ahead of this summer's Pan Am Games.

The newly constructed Pan Am velodrome in Milton, Ont., is hosting this week's Canadian Track Championships, marking the first test of the $56-million facility. 

The velodrome's 250-metre oval indoor cycling track is the only one of its kind in Canada that meets international regulations — meaning athletes can now train and perform at home rather than in the U.S. 

"We've been travelling down to L.A.," Team Canada cyclist Annie Foreman-Mackey told CBC News. "I've travelled down to L.A. probably six or seven times to train at the track there — so [the velodrome] is going to be game-changing for Canadian cyclists." 

The federal government and the town of Milton are splitting the costs on the arena, though one town councillor is worried about other costs down the road. 

Coun. Rick Malboeuf says even the "most optimistic" business plan he's seen for the velodrome points to an operating deficit of between $500,000 and $750,000 a year. 

"I'm concerned the taxpayers of Milton will have to pay that burden," Malboeuf said. 

Pan Am official Jason Fellen notes the site is also designed to host basketball, volleyball, tennis and other activities for athletes and other members of the community. 

"So it really serves as a community centre," Fellen said. 

The 2015 Pan Am Games start in July. 

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