Local attorney Spencer Lueders, the city’s Economic Development Department, and Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates were the driving force behind the velodrome project, which initially was just going to be a track. Instead it became part of a sporting complex – a 250 acre park which will include a cyclo-cross course, mountain bike trails, 1 to 1 1/2 mile road course for criterium racing, and a BMX track.
The Giordana Velodrome is a 250-meter, 42.5 degree banked track and meets Olympic standards. The grandstand can seat 800 spectators and there is an overhead viewing booth for officials. The outdoor concrete track was designed by German architect Ralph Schuermann.
A mixed-use marketplace is also part of the the Riverwalk project.
In the beginning, Rock Hill city officials were skeptical of the velodrome project. It wasn’t until they realized that the track wasn’t just for elite racers, but could be used by everyone that they began to see its potential. They were also shown the Brian Piccolo Velodrome in Florida and how that is part of the community helped sway their opinion of the project.
First time velodrome riders must take a clinic before racing. There is also a nominal track usage fee of five dollars. However, there is an annual membership fee option of $200 for a adult, $300 for a family or $100 for those under 18 years of age. Pinarello track bikes are available for rental.
The Giordana Velodrome will be the host of USA Cycling’s 2012 and 2013 International Omnium Track National Championship. The 2012 event will be held at the Velodrome August 17-18.
These upcoming championships are expected to attract over 500 racers, not including spectators. Economic impact studies commissioned by the city project that the velodrome and the park’s other retail amenities will generate $4 million annually.