Olympic stars mobbed by kids at Velodrome homecoming

Out of a capacity crowd of 3500 for Saturday night's Revolution5, a large proportion were children, itching to get their programmes and posters signed by medal winners (and anybody in Lycra willing to pick up a pen).
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Billed as the the homecoming for Britain's successful track team from the Athens Olympics, the Revolution5 track meeting was also the 10th anniversary party for the champion-creating Manchester Velodrome.

Cycling stars such as triple medallist Bradley Wiggins and gold medal winner Chris Hoy lined up with team pursuit silver medallists Rob Hayles, Chris Newton, Paul Manning and Bryan Steel, as well as Paris-Roubaix winner Magnus Backstedt, and Paralympic medallists Ellen and Paul Hunter, Ian Sharpe and Aileen McGlynn.

The riders were introduced to the capacity crowd in a darkened arena with a booming sound system - playing Tour de France by Kraftwerk - and celeb-style spotlights.

Hoy was wearing a Team Persil skinsuit with the world champion stripes. Wiggins stole the show with a white skinsuit screenprinted with his name and the Olympic rings. One of these suits was later auctioned for £350 to benefit a Manchester hospital.

Wiggins won the opening event, a devil take the hindmost race.

The highlight of the night was probably the final of the individual sprint which saw 45-second 'cat and mouse' track stands from Chris Hoy and Craig Maclean, with Hoy eventually winning after the standstill was broken by Maclean.

All of the stars on show were in high demand from autograph hunting youngsters, patiently waiting in the public pen in the track centre.

Cycling's success at the Olympics, the stunning value for money Persil is currently getting from its sponsorship deal with British Cycling and the fact track stars are now mobbed for their monikers makes cycling more marketable than ever before. British Cycling's performance director Dave Brailsford said he's in talks with three major potential sponsors of the sport.

Revolution6 takes places on 4th December. Sponsorship packages are available from the Face Partnership,james@facepartnership.com


Racing pix from Revolution5 can be found athttp://www.britishcycling.org.uk/.../23_revolution5.shtml

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