Brownlees launch £5m triathlon and cycling facility

Brownlee Centre

A new £5m University of Leeds sports facility launches this week, named after its most successful sporting alumni.

The Brownlee Centre, chosen in honour of Olympic heroes Alistair and Jonny, sits alongside a new 1 mile (1.6km) cycle circuit – one of the longest in the country – at the University’s Bodington Playing Fields in north Leeds.

The brothers will officially launch the centre and cycle circuit on Friday 28 April. The facilities, open to sports enthusiasts of all ages and abilities, will be available to use and book from Tuesday 2 May and include changing rooms and a café.

The circuit has a full programme of activity including “pay and pedal”, HSBC UK Breeze Rides for women and girls and special training sessions for elite athletes, University and local clubs. Bikes for children and adults are available to hire, along with hand cycles, trikes and tandems for use by riders with disabilities.

Investing in the future

Partnership funding from British Cycling, British Triathlon and others is contributing £1million to the project, with the remaining funding provided by the University of Leeds.

It will also be a new National Elite Training Centre for Triathlon, home to Leeds Triathlon Centre. The UK’s first purpose-built triathlon training base, it will combine a strength and conditioning training suite, physiotherapy, medical and other support services, to provide world-class facilities to enhance triathlon training in the region.

Alistair said: “This day marks a great day for cycling in Yorkshire. The start of the Tour de Yorkshire builds on a fantastic legacy and, thanks to these new facilities, Leeds continues to be a real centre for excellence when it comes to cycling and triathlon.”

Alistair studied sports science and physiology at Leeds and won gold in the triathlon competition at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Brownlee Centre

His brother Jonny, a Leeds history graduate who took silver in August, added: “A big thanks to the University and all of the supporters, because this centre and circuit will inspire everyone, from beginners through to elite athletes.”

Yorkshire’s legacy

The new facility helps mark some significant weeks for cycling and triathlon in the region: the Tour de Yorkshire takes place across the coming weekend, while the Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds returns to the city in June.

Sir Alan Langlands, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds, said: “We are very proud of the Brownlee brothers’ achievements and it’s an honour to have these brand new facilities named after two of our most successful sporting alumni.
“The Brownlee Centre and the new cycle circuit offers students, staff and the wider cycling and triathlon community a truly inspiring, world-class training facility.
”It rightly puts the University of Leeds at the forefront of providing one of the best sport and physical activity environments in the UK.
“It also builds on the excellent cycling legacy provided by Welcome to Yorkshire’s leadership in securing the Tour de France’s Grand Depart in 2014.”

It rightly puts the University of Leeds at the forefront of providing one of the best sport and physical activity environments in the UK

SIR ALAN LANGLANDS

Cycle Circuit

Jonny Clay, British Cycling’s Director of Cycling, said: “One of British Cycling’s key aims is to ensure that everyone – regardless of age or ability – has access to high quality facilities in order to get on a bike for the first time, to get back into cycling after time away from the sport, or to develop their skills on a bike.
“This facility will deliver exactly that for the people of Leeds – a region which has produced several successful elite sportspeople over the years who will have inspired countless local residents to take up cycling.

“We are delighted to see the circuit open and we look forward to seeing the local community truly embrace the facility.”

“This facility will deliver exactly that for the people of Leeds – a region which has produced several successful elite sportspeople over the years who will have inspired countless local residents to take up cycling.”

JONNY CLAY, BRITISH CYCLING

Jack Buckner, Chief Executive of British Triathlon, said: “The Brownlee Centre is a fantastic new facility in Leeds and continues our focus on ensuring our elite triathletes have the world-class facilities they need to deliver medal-winning success.”

He continued: “With the Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds coming to the city in June, the centre also provides the opportunity for locals to develop their cycling and triathlon skills as they get ready for race day and provides the perfect platform for triathlon fans of all abilities to get inspired and give the sport a try.”

“[It] provides the perfect platform for triathlon fans of all abilities to get inspired and give the sport a try.”
JACK BUCKNER, BRITISH TRIATHLON

Joe Krasinski, from thriving Leeds cycling club albaRosa, said the importance of the new facilities for local clubs could not be understated: “This is a fabulous addition to the flourishing Leeds cycling landscape for youth and adult club members.
“Having had a session on the circuit, we were simply blown away by the professional facilities, the size and challenge of the circuit, its flexible use potential and welcoming staff. Our youth riders, coaches, volunteers and parents were all buzzing – and aching – afterwards!”

albaRosa will be providing youth coaching on Thursday evenings and race skills and fitness training in partnership with Ilkley, Valley Striders and Bronte Tykes cycling clubs on Monday evenings.

Sport at Leeds

Cycle Clubs

Suzanne Glavin, Head of Sport and Physical Activity at the University of Leeds, said: “We really value our continuing relationship with the Brownlees. The dedication and commitment they demonstrate through regular training sessions on campus and their continued global success really inspires our students and staff.
“They enable us to showcase to students how we can tailor degrees to allow athletes to train and compete at the highest level.”

Leeds University Union’s Activities Officer, Taiwo Ogunyinka, added: “The Brownlee Centre and cycle circuit signify another positive step by the University towards raising the experience of sports and physical activity for students.
“Not only does this further cement the position of the city and the University as a hub of elite triathlete development, but also widens participation and offers a resource of world-class standards to all students.”

The University is one of the UK’s leading sports institutions, with the Brownlees following in the footsteps of a number of Olympic champions.
At last year’s Rio 2016 Olympic Games, four University of Leeds alumni were part of the TeamGB squad. All three of the men’s triathlon team were Leeds alumni, with Gordon Benson joining the Brownlee brothers.

Four of the six Team GB Rio games triathlon competitors will be based at the new facilities.

The Bodington Playing Fields have hosted numerous national standard cross country competitions. Its running routes are also used weekly by Leeds Triathlon Centre’s elite training squad, which includes the Brownlees.

The site will also continue to be used for grass sports including football and rugby. The next phase of development will see three additional grass pitches, with work scheduled for completion in autumn 2017.

The University has invested more than £25m in new sports facilities over the past 10 years, including a new £1m boat house. The latest improvements complement nearby Sports Park Weetwood, the University’s flagship 100-acre facility used by students and members of the community for hockey, football, rugby, cricket, lacrosse, American football and more.

More information

For full details of how to use the new facilities, visit www.leeds.ac.uk/cyclecircuit

Educational Workshop

Want to take your lifting to the next level? Want that extra bit of confidence when next in the gym?

We are launching a brand new, first of its kind Educational Workshop for lifters of all abilities in early May.

The workshop will cover an in-depth technical breakdown of the Squat, Bench Press and Deadlift with expert guidance on how to target sticking points and limiting factors for each lift. The workshop will also look at programme design by drawing on some of the best training systems from around the world. There will also be time within the workshop to get involved in a coaching clinic where you can receive expert coaching on your personal lifting technique.

By attending this workshop our expert Leeds Sport Strength and Conditioning Coaches* will teach you how to enhance your training to make those optimal gains in strength and become more equipped to overcome those performance plateaus.

Details:

When – Sunday 7th May, 9am-1pm

WhereThe Edge, Strength and Conditioning Room

How much – Only £20 per person (Edge members). £25 (non Edge members). This is an introductory offer with limited spaces available so make sure to book on quick.

Other – The workshop will a mixture of taught theory and practical education so gym kit is required.

To book onto the workshop please contact The Edge reception on 0113 343 5095, email edgereception@leeds.ac.uk or visit in person.

 

*The course will be taught by competitive powerlifter and UKSCA accredited Strength and Conditioning Coach – Chris Baldwin. Chris has a current powerlifting total of 665kg.

 

A Golden Year for Scholar Gillian Finnerty

Sports Scholar Gillian Finnerty has had an incredibly busy year representing both The University of Leeds and Great Britain, all whilst undertaking her PhD in CDT Bioenergy.

Gillian headed to Kazakhstan back in January 2017 for the World Winter Student Games , just a month after recovering from breaking her arm during training. The games is widely recognised as the biggest global winter multi-sports event for student-athletes with 11 days of competition and over 2,500 participants from more than 50 countries.

Over the past year Gillian has regularly competed in British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) and has achieved a huge medal haul:

British Universities Dryslope Championships, Edinburgh, UK – Nov 2016

  • Gold – Big Air
  • Gold – Slopestyle
  • Gold – Snowboard Giant Slalom
  • Silver – Snowboardcross

British Universities Indoor Regionals Snowsports Championships, Milton Keynes, UK – Feb 2017

  • Gold – Slopestyle
  • Gold – Snowboard Giant Slalom

British Universities Indoor Finals Snowsports Championships, Castleford, UK – Mar 2017

  • Silver – Slopestyle
  • Gold – Snowboard Giant Slalom

British Universities Alpine Championships ‘Above & Below’, Alpe D’Huez, France – Mar 2017

  • Gold – Big Air
  • Gold – Slopestyle
  • Gold – Snowboardcross
  • Silver – Snowboard Giant Slalom

I was so excited and proud to represent GB and The University of Leeds at the World University Winter Games this year. It was such a great competition and atmosphere and we all had a fantastic time. Massive thanks to Leeds Sport for my scholarship which has really helped me afford to go to the Winter Games, as well as with training in the gym and with Physio. It’s really been invaluable in my recovery and preparation for the competitions“. Gillian Finnerty.

A huge congratulations to Gillian for all her hard work this year, it’s fantastic to see the impact our Sports Scholarships can have.

Find out more about our Leeds Sport Scholarship scheme and our other scholars from the 2016/17 year here.

Our sports facilities voted top five for student experience

The Edge

The University has moved up into the top five in this year’s Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey, from sixth position last year, to fourth this year.

Every year, the Times Higher Education survey asks students across the UK to give their views about their university on a range of issues, from the quality of teaching and how well-structured the courses are, through to accommodation and support and welfare.

Our facilities, activities and societies and services such as security on campus, student welfare and support all feature particularly strongly. In the survey the students voted Leeds third for its facilities, including quality, convenience, library/opening hours, shop and bar amenities, and sports facilities.

We are delighted that our sports facilities feature highly in the results. The Edge, Sports Park Weetwood and other sports facilities aim to provide an exceptional experience for all our customers. A few ways in which we do this is through providing exemplary equipment and offering an extensive range of activity options – we are committed to providing the best service to our customers and offering something for everyone.

Following this exciting news Suzanne Glavin, Head of Sport & Physical Activity said “We are extremely pleased with this achievement but not complacent, as we know we need to continue to improve and as a dedicated service team in Sport & Physical Activity we are committed to providing the best experience possible for all our students”.

For more details visit National Student Survey results