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Brownlees launch £5m cycling and triathlon facility

 April 30, 2017 | Simon Jenkins

Alumni, Olympic heroes – and former sports scholars – Alistair and Jonny Brownlee have officially opened a new £5m University of Leeds sports facility named in their honour.

The Brownlee Centre, which includes a mile-long cycling circuit – one of the longest in the country – has opened at the University’s Bodington Playing Fields in north Leeds.

The centre will be a new National Elite Training Centre for Triathlon. 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, who studied sports science and physiology at Leeds and won gold in the triathlon competition at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games, 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.”

His brother Jonny, a Leeds history graduate who took bronze in London and silver in Rio, 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.”

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.”

Amongst the athletes set to benefit from the new venture is another Leeds alumnus Gordon Benson (Nutrition 2016) who took triathlon gold at the European Games in Baku in 2015 before lining up on the start line in Rio with the Brownlee brothers.

Here Gordon talks about the scholarship which he received as he worked towards his degree while pursuing his sporting dreams.

Brownlees launch £5m cycling and triathlon facility