World-Class Bicycling Facility in Pennsylvania
by Lex McMillan
Thanks to the vision and tireless advocacy of former Olympic cyclist Dave Chauner of West Chester, PA, a dedicated group of cycling enthusiasts has announced exciting plans to build a world-class, indoor velodrome as the main attraction of the National Sports and Events Center (NSEC) in Coatesville, PA. Famed American cyclist Greg LeMond has endorsed the project and serves as its Honorary National Chair. LeMond is a three-time winner of the Tour de France. Members of the National Velodrome Foundation are securing endorsements, community support, and the necessary financial resources to break ground in 2021 on this multi-purpose arena and special events facility.
The National Sports and Events Center will feature the National Velodrome, a national and international headquarters for World Cycling Limited and its innovative TeamTrak tournaments. It will also serve as a world-class venue for both Olympic and Paralympic events, along with regional, national and international competitions.
World Cycling Limited has created an innovative team approach to competitive cycling on an indoor track. In 2016, the PA-based company organized a three-day “TeamTrak” pilot event in Carson, CA, the site of the only other indoor velodrome in the U.S. The successful pilot event featured six teams comprised of seven top international male and female riders. Each team competed in 12 events that ranged from two-lap sprints to grueling 48-lap “endurosprints.” A unique point-scoring system makes the fast-paced competition easy to follow either on site or by video-streaming. As planned, the TeamTrak League season would stretch over six months from fall to spring and attract teams from all around the world to the new facility in Coatesville.
More than a world-class destination for cycling events and training, the NSEC will serve as a multi-purpose venue for a variety of special events and activities. The flexible design allows for other sports competitions and entertainment events. Additionally, there will be spaces for after-school activities and classrooms for seminars and gatherings that can be used for youth programs and community organizations in partnership with the Velodrome Development Foundation and other youth development organizations. It will give young people multiple opportunities to see and to participate in championship events that will inspire them to be champions in their own right.
In September, the Redevelopment Authority of Coatesville agreed to sell a 24-acre site in the city’s center to the group leading the NSEC’s development. The 210,000 square foot facility features a 2500-seat arena housing the permanent velodrome, with capacity to accommodate up to 4000 for other events. The estimated cost is $40-$50 million. The planners expect to open in late 2022 or early 2023.
According to Chauner, “Thanks to input from many stakeholders, we have designed a game-changing facility for Coatesville that will help drive the City’s revitalization and provide a unique boost to the region’s economy as we emerge from COVID-19.”
For more information: https://worldcyclingleague.com.
Lex McMillan is an avid, recreational cyclist and has served on the Board of the National Velodrome Foundation since 2017. He lives in Cumberland Township. He is President Emeritus of Albright College in Reading PA & was formerly Vice President for Community Relations at Gettysburg College.