AFTER a year of construction and a decade of planning, the West Lothian Cycle Circuit has opened in Linlithgow.

Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing Maree Todd has officially opened the £1.25 million circuit at Xcite Linlithgow.

The SNP MSP got on her bike around the track at the opening, alongside some local children.

The 1km tarmac track has seen support from the likes of Sir Chris Hoy, Katie Archibald and Ben Rowlings across its decade-long development, which was spearheaded by the minds of the local community.

Linlithgow Community Development Trust (LCDT) is running the circuit as a training facility for athletes coming to Scotland for the 2023 UCI Cycling World Cycling Championships this August, and as a facility for the whole community.

Todd said: “I’m delighted to celebrate the opening of this latest investment into the West Lothian Cycle Circuit which will support the local community to be active and hopefully encourage more people to give cycling a try.

“With only a few months to go until the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, it is great to see the Cycling Facilities Fund continue to contribute to a long-lasting active legacy, helping people to improve their physical, mental and social health through cycling.”

The UCI World Cycling Championships are set to be the biggest cycling event ever held.

There will be 13 high-adrenaline competitions as the UCI brings together all its events under one banner for the first time, with the new Linlithgow circuit playing a key role in preparing cyclists for the rides of their lives.

Carole Racionzer, chair of LCDT, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be opening the West Lothian Cycle Circuit in Linlithgow after so many years of campaigning and fundraising.

“We’re really excited to be welcoming professional cyclists to Linlithgow but equally thrilled the local community will have this exceptional asset to support people learning to cycle and to cycle safely.

“This has been a true partnership between so many organisations, including our main funders West Lothian Council and sportscotland.”

The track will not only be used for cycling, but also for skating, running and triathlon, according to Racionzer.

Keen amateur cyclist Matthew Ball, whose “vision and determination has been behind the project”, said: “I could not be prouder of this moment. This will be a game-changer for cycling in the region.

“We wanted to build a community around the circuit and make it a cycling hub.

“Cycling Club West Lothian Clarion and other local clubs will organise races and coaching sessions for adults and youngsters, so Linlithgow will be a real hotspot for cycling.”