Velodrome: Most delayed Rio Olympic venue hits another snag
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The Rio de Janeiro Olympic venue facing the most serious construction delay has hit another snag, with City Hall saying it is changing contractors for the track cycling velodrome.
In a statement, the city said Monday it rescinded the contract of the principal builder and had authorized a subcontractor to take over.
Last week, the president of world cycling’s governing body said he was “very, very concerned” about the venue.
Rio organizers repeated Monday there will be no time for a test event, but said the track surface had been installed. Organizers said they are still planning a “training session” June 25-27 — six weeks before the Olympics open Aug. 5.
However, Rio Olympic spokesman Mario Andrada suggested that might be difficult.
“We’re going to open the track, but the UCI (world governing body of cycling) has told us it’s very unlikely that any international cyclists will come. It’s too close to the games,” Andrada told The Associated Press on Monday in a telephone interview from Lausanne, Switzerland.
Brain Cookson, the president of International Cycling Union, told The AP recently that Rio organizers need “to live up to the commitment that they’ve made.”
“We are very concerned that the major flagship of our sport will be properly presented,” Cookson said.
City Hall said the venue was 88 percent complete, though the number is largely meaningless. Previous statements have termed venues 98 percent finished with crews still working inside and outside.
Rio has been plagued with problems such as the Zika virus, deep budget cuts, and slow ticket sales, but readying venues on time has not been a concern.
The $43 million cycling venue has missed several deadlines. The original plan was to use the velodrome built for the Pan American Games in 2007, but it was not approved by the UCI for Olympic events.