Théodore Vienne and his friend and business associate, Maurice Perez, both cyclists, ran a mill in the Rue du Pays in Roubaix. They organised their first cycle race in 1894 and its success encouraged them to build a dedicated velodrome at the corner of the Rue Verte and the Route d'Hempempont. Opposite was the fashionable horse-racing society as well as a tramway to bring spectators from the centre of town.
Despite the amount of planning and labour involved in constructing the track it was opened on Sunday 9 June 1895. However the track’s enduring place in cycling history is not the actual track racing there - but rather as being the finishing point for the Paris-Roubaix road race. And the first Paris-Roubaix being held in 1896 - just 10 months after the track opened. Some stories claim that the road race was created to put the town and its track on the map. It certainly did that.
The 1895 track was replaced by the Stadium Jean Dubrulle in the 1920s and by the current 500m concrete bowl in 1943. During the 1980’s the finish of the road race did briefly move away from the track - but returned in 1989 with renewed interest.
The proposed Roubaix Indoor Velodrome is scheduled to be operational by 2011/12 on a site near to the famous outdoor track. It will be in the modern, wooden 250m format with an attendance capacity of around 1,500.
According to the regional government “A new covered velodrome, near the current velodrome and the Van der Meersch high school, is at the design stage. The Van der Meersch high school is the only institution in France to offer a road cycling sports department.”
On 22-Nov-2008 there was a public presentation of the new track details in Roubaix supported by the Velo Club Roubaix Lille Metropole. The plans show the new covered track next to the existing outdoor track between Avenue Fleming and Avenue Maxence Van Der Meersch. Bon chance
Arnaud Tournant - one door closes another opens
Revolution 24 was the last appearance of Arnaud at Manchester as a rider - and the occasion was marked in style. One of the points that he made in his response to the accolades was that he would like to be involved in the efforts to establish the new indoor velodrome in Roubaix. Certainly he must be in the running to be selected for the role of stadium manager in time for the opening in 2011/12.
In an interview for Nord Eclair, Tournant was asked “It says a lot of Roubaix that the city will become the capital of cycling. What do you think?”. He replied “Roubaix is already the capital of the bike! And it will become even more so when it has a covered velodrome in 2011. People seem to have trouble believing it, but the project has progressed, the design is agreed and it will happen. This will be good not just for Roubaix but also for the entire region and cycling in general because it is a facility that is lacking in France. And it will be even more important to have the velodrome ready before the 2012 Olympics”