Local school children have been the first to try out the new Closed Road Cycling Circuit at Pembrey Country Park.
A small section of the circuit was opened last Friday for a school cycling festival ahead of the full public opening in early August.
Final touches and safety testing is underway on the purpose-built 1.9km circuit, which will provide a safe, traffic-free environment for coaching and training as well as competitive cycling events and public recreation.
It has been designed and built to British cycling standard, with a 6m wide tarmac surface of varying gradients and bends, to attract local, regional and national events, races and training camps.
Some of the world’s top cyclists will also be using the circuit as part of the prestigious Tour of Britain which will start at Pembrey Country Park on Sunday, September 2.
Carmarthenshire County Council has contributed £500,000 capital funding towards the circuit, with support from Welsh Cycling and Sport Wales.
It is another investment the council has made in cycling infrastructure in the county as part of its ambition for Carmarthenshire to become the cycling hub of Wales.
Elsewhere the council has contributed to renovation of Carmarthen velodrome, and is spending millions on active travel routes, including the Towy Valley Path which is currently underway.
Executive Board Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Cllr Peter Hughes-Griffiths, said: “It was fantastic to see local school children using the closed road cycle circuit for the first time. Work has been delayed slightly due to the extreme warm weather we’ve had over the last few weeks so we hope to open the track up to the public in a few weeks’ time.
“This will be the best off road cycling circuit in Wales, if not the UK, which will no doubt attract cyclists from far and wide. There’s already been a huge amount of interest so we are expecting this will be a welcome boost to our tourism and leisure economy as people stay in the area to enjoy everything else Carmarthenshire has to offer, including miles of scenic cycle routes and trails.”
The circuit will be open to the public day to day and free to use, but will also be available for exclusive bookings, which will be managed by Welsh Cycling.
Further details on availability and how to book will be available on www.DiscoverCarmarthenshire.com/cycling over the coming weeks.
Bynea Cycling Club secretary Alan Smith said: “The new Pembrey road circuit will be the perfect venue and location for new cyclists to improve their cycling skills in a safe environment. The circuit will be used for training and racing which will be of benefit to experienced cyclists who may just want to ride sportives a little quicker all the way to the international and professional cyclists in south west Wales who will use the circuit to prepare for their competitions. Bynea Cycling Club look forward to supporting this fantastic facility.”
Roger Bowen from locally-based Amigo Cycling Club has also welcomed the facility: “This circuit will provide safe off-road cycling for the starter and experienced cyclist alike. With the links to the coastal path and the other cycle networks around Pembrey, Burry Port, Kidwelly and Llanelli it should greatly benefit the cycling community of Carmarthenshire.”