FILE - In this Oct. 9, 2015, file aerial photo, construction continues at the Rio Olympics velodrome in Rio de Janeiro. The president of cyclings world governing body remains very, very concerned that the velodrome under construction for the Rio Olympics
David J. Phillip, File
May 25, 2016

The president of cycling's world governing body remains ''very, very concerned'' that the velodrome under construction for the Rio Olympics will not be completed in time for a proper test event.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Brian Cookson said that most of the cycling venues are ready, including the BMX and mountain bike courses. But the $43 million centerpiece facility has already missed several deadlines, forcing the cancellation of a test event at the velodrome scheduled for March.

''I'm very unhappy about that,'' Cookson said. ''The progress still seems to be incredibly slow. We now believe we don't have any time for any proper test events and that's very, very worrying.

''I want to encourage our friends in Rio to live up to the commitment that they've made and have the venue finished and operational - fully - several weeks before the Games.''

The original plan was to use the velodrome built for the Pan American Games in 2007, but it was not approved by the International Cycling Union for Olympic events. The cost of building an entirely new venue was about the same as retrofitting the old arena, so plans were made for a new 5,000-seat structure.

Once completed, the track cycling facility will be part of the Olympic Training Center, one of the main legacies of the Rio Games. The idea of it is to foster growth in track cycling in South America.

''The test event was due for the end of March and was cancelled, and we had previous plans before that put back as well,'' Cookson said. ''We talked about a training weekend at the end of June but now we understand there are problems with that as well. All of these things are very, very worrying.''

Especially considering how successful track cycling has been at recent Olympics.

The program was among the most popular during the Sydney Games thanks in part to Australia's cycling pedigree, and Athens and Beijing were well-received. Four years ago in London, track cycling events were among the toughest tickets with celebrities ranging from Paul McCartney to Prince William in attendance.

There will be additional attention this year with former Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins and British teammate Mark Cavendish, one of the top road cyclists in the world, returning to their roots on the track.

''We are very concerned that the major flagship of our sport will be properly presented,'' Cookson said.

Brazilian sports minister Leonardo Picciani recently told reporters that the velodrome was nearly 90 percent complete, and most of the work will be completed in June with only some fine-tuning necessary.

The delays began with trouble laying the track surface but and were compounded by financial issues.

''Most of the events I think the venues are set,'' Cookson said. ''I know the people in Rio are passionate and enthusiastic about sport and I'm sure we're going to have a great Olympic Games.''

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