Prime Minister David Cameron said he was looking forward to seeing Britain's cyclists in action at next year's London Olympics during a visit to British Cycling's HQ this morning.
The PM was greeted by British Cycling president Brian Cookson, chief exec Ian Drake and performance director David Brailsford and introduced to Olympic champions Ed Clancy and Paul Manning – also the GB Cycling Team Women's Endurance Coach.
Cameron was talked through the team's training at the Manchester Velodrome and led to the BMX Indoor Arena where he met BMX World Time Trial Champ Shanaze Reade and her coach Grant White.
British Cycling said it took the chance to raise concerns over the future of road racing in the UK and asked him to support moves to modernise the regulations that govern road racing by the Department for Transport and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
“I have been very impressed by the set-up here in Manchester," said the Prime Minister. "Both in terms of the facilities which are second to none, but also the sense of professionalism and winning mentality you see in the coaches and riders alike.
“It is inspirational to see how British Cycling has achieved the success it has enjoyed over the past few years and I look forward to watching our cyclists in action at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
British Cycling president Brian Cookson added: “It is a great honour for everyone at British Cycling to have the Prime Minister here and his visit could not have come at a better time. Only last week Mark Cavendish claimed a world title for Britain in the Men’s Road Race, making cycling history, and we also celebrated doubling our membership since 2007 to 40,000 members.
“Not only are we on track with our elite performance, we are also on target to get one million more people cycling regularly and increase weekly participation to 125,000 by 2013, and are delivering a fantastic participation legacy of a home Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“I would like to thank the Prime Minister for showing such keen interest in our sport and I am confident that our staff and athletes will take inspiration from his visit see it as a massive boost on the final approach to London 2012.”