Celebrating Geraint Thomas’ success at the Tour de France, Carmarthen Velodrome could soon be renamed in the champion cyclist’s honour.
In recognition of Thomas’ family roots in Bancyfelin near St Clears, Carmarthenshire Council is proposing calling the town’s velodrome the ‘Geraint Thomas Velodrome’ from now on.
Thomas became the first ever Welshman to win the illustrious Tour de France, beating off competition from the best cyclists on the planet.
Located in Carmarthen Park, Carmarthen Velodrome, built in 1900, is one of the oldest velodromes in the world.
Run and maintained by Carmarthen Town Council, the velodrome was refurbished and reopened last year for the benefit of contemporary cyclists and future generations, thanks to funding from Carmarthenshire Council and Sport Wales, with support from Welsh Cycling.
Cllr Emlyn Dole, Carmarthenshire Council Leader, said: “Geraint Thomas’ success at the Tour de France is right up there with the greatest Welsh sporting achievements of all-time.
“That’s why, given his family roots in Carmarthenshire, we’ll now ask for Geraint’s permission to rename Carmarthen Velodrome in his honour.
“Brilliantly run and maintained by Carmarthen Town Council since its refurbishment and reopening last year, potentially calling the facility the ‘Geraint Thomas Velodrome’ in future would further raise its profile across the world, helping introduce more people from the county and beyond to the joy of cycling.
“Ongoing work in Carmarthenshire to further boost cycling includes the Tywi Valley Path, which will link Carmarthen and Llandeilo for cyclists and pedestrians, as well as a closed road cycling circuit at Pembrey Country Park. The Country Park will also stage the start of the major Tour of Britain cycling race next month as we look to strengthen the county’s growing reputation as the cycling capital of Wales.”
Although now based in Cardiff, Geraint’s father, Howell, is originally from Bancyfelin – a small village nestled between Carmarthen and St Clears on the A48.
Cllr Philip Hughes, Executive Board Member at Carmarthenshire Council and a Ward Member for St Clears, said: “This is a very proud moment for everyone in the St Clears and Bancyfelin community.
“Geraint can now justifiably be called the best cyclist in the world, but he follows in the footsteps of other sporting legends from the village, including rugby heroes Delme Thomas, Mike Phillips and Jonathan Davies, who won man of the series in the British Lions tour of New Zealand last summer.
“Bancyfelin is truly a village of sporting champions.”
The refurbishment of Carmarthen Velodrome included the replacement of all 232 surface panels making up the cycling track, as well as the introduction of a safety fence around the outside edge of the track, and a new safety zone along its inside perimeter.