Friday, May 6, 2016 - 14:45

The Eden Project geared up for three amazing days of cycling action today, with the opening of the first velodrome ever to visit the South West.

Professional riders and hundreds of school children took to the steeply-sloping track in a thrilling day of cycling, a curtain-raiser for more pedal-powered fun over the weekend.

First on were professional cyclists Jess Stone, Patrick Robinson and Rowena Price who warmed up for the first children to take to the velodrome, Harry and Isobel, both aged eight, part of  group of 36 from Biscovey Academy, a school near the Eden Project.

Deputy head teacher Ann Bullock said: “The children are so excited about going on the velodrome - really keen to take part. It is fantastic that they are having this opportunity and I’m sure they will remember it for a very long time.”

The velodrome is at Eden for the first round of the televised StreetVelodrome 2016 series.

The track is open to spectators all weekend, with the thrilling sight of professional and amateur riders taking part in Olympic-style pursuit races on Sunday. A pop-up BMX park will also be at Eden for the duration of the weekend and Sunday marks the return of the Eden Classic sportive.

The sportive, which starts and finishes at Eden, is Eden's mass-participation cycle ride. Around 700 riders took part in the first event last year, organised by Eden and fellow Cornwall-based charity Tempus Leisure.

The Eden Classic boasts a winning combination of stunning coastal scenery and challenging hills. The rides are open to anyone and there are three routes to choose from - 35 miles, 62 miles, and 100 miles.

All routes start and finish in the heart of Eden and take in The Lost Gardens of Heligan as an official food and drink stop. The 100-mile riders have a second stop at the Jubilee Inn, Pelynt.

Pre-registration for the Eden Classic is now closed but anyone who would like to ride can still enter at Eden's Green Build Hub between 9am and 11am tomorrow (Saturday) or before the start of the ride on Sunday between 6am and 8am in Eden's Banana coach park.