The UK’s biggest free sporting event is to return to Stoke-on-Trent this summer when the Tour of Britain comes back to the streets of the city.
The Tour will showcase some of the worlds best cyclists for the third successive time and it forms part of a summer of cycling in Stoke-on-Trent’s centenary year.
As well as The Tour of Britain, the Halfords Tour Series will take place in the city centre on the 17th June and then The Prostate Cancer Charity Tour Ride will see thousands of amateur cyclists taking to the region’s roads on the 26th September following the same route as the pros, two weeks after the Tour of Britain.
Plans and routes for all events will be announced at an official launch of the three Tour events at the Regent Theatre in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent on Monday 19 April.
Last year all three tours took place in the city, which saw tens of thousands of people come out in support and which collectively brought in an economic impact worth millions of pounds.
In 2010, the year of the 100th anniversary of the federation of the six towns of Stoke-on-Trent, there will be a special centenary theme to each event.
Hugh Roberts, Chief Executive of The Tour of Britain, added:
“We are delighted to be working alongside Stoke-on-Trent City Council to bring our cycling events to the city in its centenary year. The people of Stoke-on-Trent and the West Midlands have certainly taken The Tour of Britain to their hearts, and we enjoy an immensely productive relationship with our stakeholders in the city, who work tirelessly on our behalf to engage the community and local schools with these exciting, free to attend elite sporting events. We look forward greatly to another fantastic year of cycling in Stoke-on-Trent”.
Last year The Prostate Cancer Charity Tour Ride saw 1300 people of all ages and abilities take up the cycle challenge on three different routes and distances, and John Neate, CEO of The Prostate Cancer Charity said:
“We are delighted to be bringing The Prostate Cancer Charity Tour Ride back to Stoke-on-Trent this year. The inaugural Tour Ride in Stoke-on-Trent and the West Midlands in 2009 was hugely successful and we received extremely positive feedback from participants about the organisation of the day and the fact that they could take on a leg of the actual Tour of Britain for the first time.
“Following on from this success, we look forward to welcoming thousands of amateur cyclists of all abilities to take part in the Stoke-on-Trent event on the 26th September this year. Of course, everyone who takes part, as well as completing a personal challenge, will be helping the Charity to raise awareness of prostate cancer and helping us to raise funds to fight the disease, which kills one man every hour in the UK.
“There is a very clear connection between The Tour of Britain and our priorities here at The Prostate Cancer Charity, so this is a very exciting partnership for us. Cycling is obviously associated with health benefits and as a healthy lifestyle is central to minimising the risks of cancer, this key event in the cycling calendar very much ties in with the Charity’s aims. We look forward to working closely with Stoke-on-Trent city council in their centenary year to put on another very successful Tour Ride event”.
Actors John Pickard and Nicole Barber – stars of Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks – are taking part in the ride and will be at the Stoke-on-Trent launch on Monday.
John Pickard added:
“I am really excited about taking on The Prostate Cancer Charity’s Stoke Tour Ride. Last years event sounded like a lot of fun and it will be amazing to do something so challenging. My grandfather had prostate cancer and so I know more than most about the impact that the disease can have on a family. My character, Dom, would never take on an event like this but I am definitely geared up for it. The Tour Rides offer different distances for cyclists of all abilities and are all about getting people to Unite ByCycling. I would urge anyone who wants a fun and exciting challenge, to sign up today to take part.”
Last June the Tour Series took place in the city for the first time, with thousands of people coming out to watch the race in the city centre, with hundreds of thousands more watching the televised highlights on ITV.
This year the criterium returns and as well as the men’s Halfords Tour Series race, Stoke-on-Trent will be the venue for the only women’s race in the UK Series, when the Horizon Fitness Grand Prix takes place on the main circuit earlier in the afternoon.
Tour Series Technical Director Mick Bennett said:
“Last year’s inaugural Tour Series was a great success, and in fact the Stoke-on-Trent round saw the most exciting racing of all, with ten teams of professional riders giving their all in front of packed crowds in the city centre. This year we are proud to be working alongside Stoke-on-Trent city council to put on the Horizon Fitness Grand Prix – a professional women’s race – as part of the Halfords Tour Series, and alongside our partners at the City Council, we cannot wait for all the action to start!”.
Ian Van Arkadie, Head of Community Services for Stoke-on-Trent City Council, welcomed the events returning to the city.
“The city has developed an excellent working relationship with the Tour of Britain, the Tour Series and the Tour Ride.
“Cycling is amongst the fastest growing and most popular participation sports in the UK. The health and other benefits – including those to the environment – cannot be denied and as a Cycling City we are very committed to cycling in all its forms. To have all three events taking place in the city in the centenary year of Stoke-on-Trent is great news and we hope people all over the region embrace these events and play their part.
“These televised events provide the city with a great profile and enable people of all ages to take part and witness eevnts that provide social, health, environmental, sporting and economic impacts for the city and its people.”
To register for The Prostate Cancer Charity Tour Ride please visit www.tourride.couk.