Top cyclists will be racing head-to-head over the cobbles of Durham City this May.
The return of the Tour Series on May 22nd will see three cycling races taking place.
As well as the men’s criterium, there will be a gruelling hill race – a 500 metre sprint up the cobbles of South Street. It will be the first time such a race has been held in Durham City.
Another new addition to the programme will be a race involving some of the UK’s top female riders.
The Tour Series – now in its tenth season – is a programme of televised, team-based races around British city centres.
The Durham races will be hosted by Durham County Council in partnership with the race organisers Sweetspot.
Cllr Ossie Johnson, cabinet member for leisure, tourism and rural issues, said, “The Tour Series cycling is a fantastic event which in previous years has brought thousands of people out onto the city’s streets, contributed hundreds of thousands of pounds to the county’s economy, and helped raise our profile regionally, nationally and internationally.”
“The hard cobbled climbs, narrow streets and tight corners of our medieval surroundings make for a superb sporting spectacle as some of the top riders in Britain compete on what has traditionally been one of the Tour’s toughest courses.”
“I hope to see many people out there cheering on the competitors and perhaps being inspired to saddle up and improve their own health and wellbeing.”
Durham has been hosting the Tour’s men’s races since 2010. In previous seasons, the city has seen stars such as Olympic, World and European team pursuit champion Ed Clancy; Commonwealth Games silver medallist Harry Tanfield; and the UCI Road World Championships junior time trial champion Tom Pidcock slogging it out over the cobbles.
Last year saw thousands of spectators lining the criterium course – made up of Cross Street, South Street, Grove Street and Margery Lane – as competitors whizzed past at up to 50 kilometres an hour.
Race director Mick Bennett said, “The Tour Series remains as important as ever to Britain’s leading domestic teams, especially for those men’s squads who are seeking to qualify for this year’s OVO Energy Tour of Britain, so I have no doubt that we’re in for a thrilling race this May.”
Durham will be hosting rounds four and five of the men’s series and one round of the women’s series on Tuesday 22nd May.
For further information – and to view videos of last year’s Tour Series – please visit www.durham.gov.uk/cyclingevents.