Work to build a speed skating oval at the Fiera Milano Exhibition Centre will begin in the summer ©Fiera Milano Exhibition Centre

Work to build the long-track speed skating rink for the Milan Cortina 2026 Winter Olympics will begin in the Italian summer, officials have said.

The 400 metres oval will be installed at the Fiera Milano Exhibition Centre in Milan, which was chosen after lengthy deliberations on where to house the sport at the Games.

Two existing halls - 13 and 15 - will need to be combined to make space for the rink.

There will also be seats for 6,500 fans, a training track, changing rooms and a catering area.

Part of the work will be the removal of a wall which would currently obscure television coverage.

The cost of the project has been put between €10 million (£8.7 million/$10.8 million) and €15 million (£13 million/$16 million). 

Milan Cortina 2026's International Broadcasting Centre and Main Press Centre are also due to be housed at the Fiera Milano Exhibition Centre.

The site was unanimously chosen for speed skating last month after being selected in front of a rival suggestion from Turin's Oval Lingotto, which played host when Italy last staged the Winter Olympics in 2006.

Two halls at the venue will be combined to accommodate the new rink  ©Getty Images
Two halls at the venue will be combined to accommodate the new rink ©Getty Images

An earlier plan to build a roof over the outdoor ice rink in Baselga di Pinè was rejected due to it being too expensive.

The International Skating Union also said that it would prefer an indoor oval.

When choosing Fiera, the Milan Cortina 2026 Board of Directors took into account that the work will be financed entirely by private capital.

Keeping the sport in Milan and therefore closer to other events was also considered, as this is deemed better for athletes, officials and fans.

According to Italian press agency ANSA, the combined facility could host tennis, congresses and concerts in the future, with a capacity of 12,000 seats.

The "most important" parts of the upgrade are planned for "winter 2023 and summer 2024".

Officials have pledged that the finished work will be as environmentally-friendly as possible.