By Nick Butler

Concerns have been raised over the unusual nature of the track where track cycling at Incheon 2014 ©Incheon 2014April 2 - Incheon 2014 have downplayed concerns over the length and conditions of the velodrome on which track cycling will be held at the Asian Games later this year.

In contrast to the 250-metre tracks on which most international competitions are held, the facility at the Incheon International Velodrome is 333m long.

It is also outdoor, meaning that cyclists face the added difficulty of encountering weather and climatic conditions they do not normally experience.

Although the track is unusual, it has been granted approval by the International Cycling Union (UCI) which, in its official lists of rules and regulations, provided explanations for adapting events to 333m as well as 250m tracks. 

But concerns have been voiced by the Hong Kong Cycling Federation that their unfamiliarity with the track will be a disadvantage in comparison with the host team from South Korea, who will be free to practice on it in the build-up. 

"You can't say there is any foul play by the organisers as long as they follow the rules of the international federation," said Hong Kong Cycling Association chairman Leung Hung-tak.

"Both the 250m or 333m venues are legitimate according to the International Cycling Union, although I would say 333m tracks are rarely used for international competitions these days.

"I know the Incheon outdoor venue has been there for a long time and perhaps the organisers want to save money by not building any new facility but by using the existing one.

"Normally we train in Guangzhou's velodrome, which was built for the 2010 Asian Games, but now we need to travel to Qinhuangdao, in northern China, where they have a similar track.

"We want the riders to get used to the outdoor environment, including wind conditions and lighting, so that they can remain competitive."

Lee Wai Sze is one Hong Kong cyclist hoping to repeat her gold medal winning form from the 2010 Asian Games ©Getty ImagesLee Wai Sze is one Hong Kong cyclist hoping to repeat her gold medal winning form from the 2010 Asian Games...albeit in different events ©Getty Images

Hong Kong are particularly concerned due to the fact that cycling is one of their strongest sports, having produced four of their eight gold medals at Guangzhou 2010.

They have already been hit by the change in events to just the 10 Olympic disciplines, meaning Lee Wai Sze will be unable to defend the 500m time trial title she won last time around, although she will be competing in the sprint disciplines.

In a statement to insidethegames, Incheon 2014 denied any advantage and have reiterated both the credentials of the facility and the endorsement from the UCI.

"The Incheon International Velodrome Cycling Track constructed in 2006 has received international homologation by the United Cycliste Internationaleand has served as the venue for various international cycling events," the statement said.

"As a result of consultation meeting with the technical delegates for cycling on March 13, the venue has been confirmed and approved as the competition venue for track events at the 17th Asian Games Incheon 2014.

"The track surface will be re-coated for the improvement of performances by the athletes and will receive homologation by the UCI through the Korean Cycling Federation.

"The 2014 Incheon Asian Games Organising Committee will give our utmost efforts towards the success of Cycling competitions during the 17th Asian Games Incheon 2014."

The Games will consist of 439 events in 36 sports and disciplines and is due to begin on September 19 before reaching a conclusion 15 days later on October 4.