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Rio Olympic Velodrome Catches Fire, Causing Damages

07/31/2017 - 09h25

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MARTHA ALVES
FROM SÃO PAULO

JOÃO PEDRO PITOMBO
FROM SALVADOR

The Rio Olympic Velodrome in Barra da Tijuca, a neighborhood in the western district of Rio de Janeiro, caught fire early Sunday morning (the 30th).

No one was injured, but the Federal Police is going to open an investigation in order to determine the cause of the fire.

According to Brazilian Sports Minister Leonardo Picciani, the fire began after an air balloon drifted onto the property.

The velodrome, which cost R$ 138 million (US$ 44 million), was inaugurated in 2016. The covered area contains a race track made of Siberian pine, a material that enables bikes to reach the highest speeds and glide with perfection.

The space, which has been empty ever since the Rio Olympics ended, keeps its refrigerating system on in order to preserve the track and avoid damages.

According to the Sports Ministry, the velodrome electricity bill in 2017 alone will cost approximately R$ 3.5 million (US$ 1.1 million).

Since the beginning of May of 2017, practice sessions are being held on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, but only for federated athletes who have taken a course on biking in velodromes.

Agents from Aglo (the Olympic Legacy Governing Authority) concluded, based on preliminary results, that the fire was caused by external factors. The ceilings sustained the most damage.

According to the agency, internal damages "were linked to debris that fell from the ceiling as well as water that was used to put out the fire". The water and electric systems were not damaged. The refrigeration system, which is key to keeping the cycling track at the right temperature, was working normally.

Translated by THOMAS MATHEWSON

Read the article in the original language

Reprodução/GloboNews
The Rio Olympic Velodrome in Barra da Tijuca caught fire early Sunday morning (the 30th)
The Rio Olympic Velodrome in Barra da Tijuca caught fire early Sunday morning (the 30th)

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