May 18 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Organisers of the Tour of Britain have revealed that the professional bike race will not be returning to Norfolk this year - but another high-profile cycling event will be heading to the county instead.
Last summer, cycling fever spread through Norfolk and Suffolk as 180,000 people lined the streets to cheer on the likes of Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins and top sprinter Mark Cavendish.
This year, those scenes will not be repeated as the Tour of Britain, which has come through Norfolk for the last three years, will be sticking to a route to the west of the country.
It is not all lost for cycling fans in Norfolk, however, as Aylsham will host a stage Britain’s leading cycle race series, the Tour Series, for the first time.
The market town will host the penultimate stage of the fifth season of the Tour Series on Thursday, June 13.
Professional riders will speed around a short, spectator-friendly circuit race for one hour from 7pm, coming at the end of a day of cycling-themed activities and events.
Highlights of the race will be shown on ITV4, boosting Aylsham and Norfolk’s profile.
Barry Stone, cabinet member for cultural services for Norfolk County Council, which has helped to organise the Tour of Britain locally for the last three years, said: “Norfolk has really embraced the Tour of Britain and I have no doubt that we will also see large crowds heading to Aylsham on June 13, to enjoy the Tour Series.”
The Tour Series is a unique team-based series, pitting 10 of Britain’s leading teams against each other, with the all-important team victory on the night being the ultimate goal in each of the 11 rounds.
Past winners of the unique competition include Team Halfords Bikehut, Motorpoint Marshalls Pasta, Rapha Condor Sharp and Endura Racing.
As well as the men’s pro race, it has been hinted that Aylsham will also host the women’s Johnson Health Tech Grand Prix Series, which sees the UK’s best female riders compete.
Stuart Clancy, Broadland District Council’s portfolio holder for economic development, said: “We are hugely honoured to be welcoming The Tour Series to Aylsham.
“I know the local business and resident community are extremely excited to play host to such a prestigious event. We will make it a day to remember.”
Race director Mick Bennett said: “Spectators across East Anglia can look forward to two exciting events, and can look forward to this year’s Tour Series champions being crowned in Ipswich on the Friday night.”
The Tour Series is organised by Sweetspot, the organisation which currently runs the Tour of Britain, and will be hosted locally by Norfolk and Broadland District Council with Adnams as the main sponsor.
After Aylsham, the final race will be held in Ipswich on Friday, June 14.
Other locations hosting the Tour Series this year include Kirkcaldy, Torquay and Colchester.