Cyclists endorse Rio's Olympic velodrome

Rio de Janeiro: Top cyclists from around the world have given their seal of approval for Rio's new velodrome, predicting slick times at the venue during the Olympic Games in August. "The track is fast and smooth and the wood is great," Switzerland's Gael Suter told after giving the track a test run. "I think there will be some great times during the Olympics and there will be some great races," added Suter, who has already qualified for the Olympics. Australian Alexander Porter also said he was impressed by the facility. "It's a very good track. I really liked how it feels, it's very smooth and really good for racing. It felt awesome to ride on," said Porter, who is still trying to secure his place in the country's eight-member Olympic squad. "I have really enjoyed racing on it. It feels better to ride on than the one I am used to at home. I am getting a real buzz from being here," he added. Shogo Ichimaru from Japan was also enthusiastic about the track. "It is very well made and similar to what I am used to training on in Japan," he said. Despite the velodrome's official opening on Sunday, construction work is ongoing at the venue. Built at a cost of 147 million reais ($43 million), the velodrome had been slated for completion last year. Last month Rio's government rescinded its contract with the building firm responsible for the project after the latter said it was unable to meet its obligations due to financial problems. Rio mayor Eduardo Paes has said the venue will be ready in mid-July, around three weeks before the Olympic opening ceremony.