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Sold out crowd wowed by royals and sporting skill on show

Sold out crowd wowed by royals and sporting skill on show

Photography by Woolf Crown Copyright

New Zealand’s National Cycling Centre of Excellence, the Avantidrome, was officially opened on Saturday 12 April by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in front of a full house of more than 1500 guests including the Prime Minister and Olympians.

The celebrations began with a welcome from the Home of Cycling’s Chairman Simon Perry, who thanked all contributors, national and local, public and private, who assisted with bringing the four year project and 28.5m world class facility to life, saying that it “put Cambridge and the Waikato on the map” within the sporting arena.

Retired Olympic track cyclist and gold medallist Sarah Ulmer led the royals into the Avantidrome, where they were greeted with loud cheering from guests.
Prince William was glad to attend and open the new world class facility.
"It's a great pleasure for Catherine and me to be here to pay tribute to New Zealand's cycling heritage and cycling future. I know what a special place cycling holds for New Zealanders."

He said the Avantidrome “represented cycling's pinnacle” and would no doubt assist with producing more world class champions and Olympic medallists for New Zealand in the future.

He formally opened the facility together with Kate, by pulling open a red curtain to unveil a plaque.

Prince William also got involved in the opening celebrations by starting the team sprint race, which included the current world champions donning their rainbow jerseys; Sam Webster, Ethan Mitchell and Eddie Dawkins against fellow elite New Zealand cyclists.

The crowd counted down and Prince William fired the starter gun to further cheers from guests.

The royals also mingled with London Olympic gold medallists, Mahe Drysdale, Hamish Bond, Eric Murray, Joseph Sullivan, Nathan Cohen and Lisa Carrington. They also talked through various sporting equipment that was on display.

John Struthers, Avanti founder, presented one of Avanti’s popular children’s bikes as well as a bespoke designer mini cycling jersey to the royals for Prince George in order to celebrate his inaugural visit to New Zealand.

“Avanti is honoured to be presenting the Lil Ripper to the Royal family and we’re sure, as with all new parents, it will be exciting for the Duke and Duchess to see their son riding his first bike. We understand a child’s first bike has always been a significant event in any family, John says.”

The Avantidrome is an international-standard 250 metre indoor track which will provide New Zealand’s cyclists with the best possible training environment here at home. It’s part of a network of world-class facilities that the Government has invested in over the last four years in its effort to take high performance sport in this country to a new level.


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