'Unfinished' Rio Olympic velodrome declared ready ahead of August games

There had been growing fears about slow progress at the velodrome. (Representational Image.) Photograph:( AFP )

AFP Rio de Janeiro - State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Jun 27, 2016, 06.40 AM (IST)

The Rio Olympic velodrome, the latest-running major venue for the August Games, was declared ready on Sunday for action, without actually being finished.

It is just 40 days until the first Olympics in South America gets underway and there had been growing fears about slow progress at the velodrome, where the cycling will take place.

"It's still missing some details, but the velodrome is in condition to be used. We have overcome one of the biggest challenges of the Olympics," said Eduardo Paes, mayor of Rio.

Temporary stands are yet to be completed and colourful sheets were thrown over to cover some unfinished parts, said an AFP photographer at the inauguration, where cyclists whizzed around the track as part of testing.

Parts of the outside of the velodrome, which was supposed to have been ready in late 2015, also need more work before the Games launch on August 5. Rio organisers say that the rest of the Olympic infrastructure is virtually done.

Paes blames construction company Tecnosolo for the delay. Tecnosolo, which in turn pointed the finger at city hall, are facing a winding-up order and were replaced on the project by a sub-contractor.

Officials say that the next few weeks before the Games will be used to polish off the velodrome, where pre-Olympics test events in April-May had to be postponed because of the slow progress.