Monday, November 21, 2011

The Dream: Reviving the Vigorelli

The famous Velodromo Vigorelli of via Arona 19, Milano, was the site of a demonstration and petition signing by cyclists yesterday calling attention to this cathedral of cycling which has remained unused* and in disrepair for decades.

Driven by a new bicycle culture and a large group of visionary dreamers there are hopes that the Vigorelli track can be returned to the splendor of its heyday. The municipal government of Milano has been criticized for not showing the foresight to recognize how an investment in restoring and improving the structure would increase the visibility for the city, especially the world of cycling. Supporters argue that the Vigorelli would not be a burden to the city but instead a resource such as the e Teatro alla Scala, the San Siro Stadium and the Castello Sforzesco.

In 2007 a new, covered, Vigorelli as part of a sports palace concept was proposed to the mayor of Milano. The proposal would re-launch track racing but will also have the capability of hosting other sports such as basketball, tennis, boxing, hockey, and concerts. At a cost of 50 million Euro, and an estimated 3 years to build, the proposal went nowhere.

In 2009 the specific project plans were unveiled and the next step in the project was to seek financing. The city was committed to funding 12 million Euro of the estimated 50 million Euro project cost; the other 38 million Euro would have come from the private sector. The goal was to inaugurate the new facility in 2012. The main elements of the plan were:
-the exterior is unchanged,
-installation of a transparent bubble roof (photo above)
-new track of 250 meters in length (in order to comply with World Championship regulations; when the Vigorelli was built in 1935 it was 397.57 meters in length),
-permanent seating expanded from 9,000 to 10,000 seats,
-in addition to permanent seating there will be 2,000 track-side seats for track events,
-quick re-configuration of the facility for sporting events (such as basketball, hockey and boxing) and concerts,
-22 box suites

Take a look at the video of the then proposed future for the Vigorelli:

Yesterday's event also incuded the first edition of the "PETTENELLA CUP", a trackstand (surplace) competition. Read more about Giovanni Pettenella here, a good read.

*the infield is used for local American football league teams.

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  1. As long as they leave a spot for Masi, we're all for it! They should set up a Paypal site so cycling fans worldwide can contribute to the project. We would!

  2. I found your blog whilst researching British riders who went over to Vigorelli in the late 1930s to set world records as it was known as the fastest track anywhere.

    The readers of the magazine currently known as Cycling Weekly even contributed to a fund to send riders over. The riders came away with various records from their attempts including the world tandem hour record which stood for over 50 years.

    There's a lot of redevelopment of Milan's old industrial sectors in the pipeline, infact they've even got famed architect Renzo Piano on the case. Hopefully there will be something in the pipeline for the Vigorelli.