COUNCILLORS have backed Ruthin to become the home of the first cycling velodrome in North Wales, as the sport’s national governing body aims to boost its rise in popularity.

Earlier this year Cycling Wales urged local authorities to submit their interest in its plan to build an outdoor velodrome in the region. There are currently three velodromes in Wales – all located in the south – including outdoor sites in Cardiff and Carmarthen and an indoor track in Newport.

Many track cyclists in the north who want to use a velodrome, which also provide a traffic-free facility for cycling lessons and clubs, have to travel across the English border to the National Cycling Centre in Manchester.

Welsh Cycling has proposed a 333-metre length minimum track which would cost more than £1.2m.

Gavin Harris, mayor of Ruthin, said the town council believes it has a strong case for the development near Glasdir Estate on the outskirts of the town.

“We are between the Marsh Tracks circuit in Rhyl and Llandegla Forest, which attracts mountain bikers, and in June the successful Welsh Road Race Championships were held in the town,” Cllr Harris said.

“The council considered four possible sites before choosing a preferred site which is owned by the county council.

“Obviously we would need to seek funding from various sources but we have held talks with various parties, including assembly members and sporting groups.”

It is not known whether any other local authorities have declared their interest in the velodrome plan.

Denbighshire County Council said its officers have supported Ruthin Town Council in developing the proposal.

Emrys Wynne, Ruthin county councillor, said the development would “put Ruthin on the cycling map”.

“Cycling has become a very popular pastime and Ruthin could become a hub that attracts cyclists from all over. The velodrome would bring people into the town and could lead to further developments for cycling.”

Cllr Wynne added that he supports plans to build more cycling routes in Denbighshire which would “enable cyclists to travel from across North Wales to Ruthin”.

Anne Roberts, town councillor and chair of the Ruthin Civic Association, said the town is an “excellent location” for the velodrome, where the popularity of other attractions in North Wales would not be affected.

She added: “Ruthin has lovely surroundings and it is a brave move by the town council but it would provide a huge boost to the area.”

Welsh Cycling will reveal its preferred partner will be revealed in November.