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Rio Olympics 2016: Incomplete velodrome adds to preparation woes

An aerial view shows Rio Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes
An aerial view shows Rio Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 25, 2016. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes
Reuters
NEWS
Modified 28 Apr 2016
News

The unfinished cycling arena is the biggest issue facing the Rio de Janeiro Olympics 100 days before the games begin, the city's mayor said on Wednesday.

The velodrome is only 85 percent ready and workers need another 30 to 40 days to finish the structure, meaning there will not be time for a proper test event before the games begin on 5 August.

"The biggest problem, the biggest challenge and the job that gave us most problems and missed the deadline was the velodrome," Mayor Eduardo Paes told reporters in Rio. "The track is practically done. We have 30 to 40 more days of intense work but we are on schedule."

Also read: Rio Olympics 2016: Landmarks lit up to mark countdown to games

Rio's original plan was to use the velodrome built for the 2007 Pan American Games but that was scuppered after officials said the venue did not meet Olympic standards.

The old one was dismantled for rebuilding in the centre of Brazil and a brand new one erected in Rio's Olympic Park, the main cluster of venues.

Paes, who declared the park open on 12 April, said it was 98 percent complete with the tennis centre needing last-minute work. The main courts are ready but temporary seating still needs to be installed, he said.

Paes also announced public holidays on three days during the games, both for the opening and closing ceremonies and on 18 August, the day of the men's triathlon event in Copacabana.

Following a strategy used during the 2014 World Cup, officials hope to reduce the amount of traffic by keeping cars off the road and through the use of special traffic lanes for Olympics visitors.

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Also read: Rio Olympics 2016: Brazil receives Olympic flame

Paes said 260 kilometers (161 miles) of traffic lanes will be used to facilitate the movement of athletes and officials. The lanes will be opened for tests on 25 July and be fully operational six days later.

Rio was last month declared the fourth most-congested city in the world by navigational device manufacturer TomTom.

"We are at the point many people doubted," Paes said. "But we are going well ... 100 days is always a landmark, it's a demanding period and there is a lot of pressure."

Published 28 Apr 2016, 15:27 IST
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