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One of the most prestigious races in the international women's professional road cycling calendar will take place in the UK for the first time in Newport, Wales on Saturday, August 20, when the Celtic Manor resort plays host to the eighth round of the World Cup series.
Officially launched today by Alun Pugh AM, Minister for Culture, the Welsh Language and Sport in the Welsh Assembly, the race will feature Wales' own rising star, Commonwealth champion Nicole Cooke. As part of the celebrations surrounding the race, there will also be BikeWales, a major bike ride open to the general public, taking place on Sunday, August 21.
The Celtic Manor Resort, which has been selected as the venue for golf's prestigious Ryder Cup in 2010, will play host to the three-lap, 71-mile (114km) race. Broadcast live by BBC Grandstand, there will be over 30 professional teams from around the globe competing in Newport. Racing at the highest level is promised, with plenty of excitement and supreme effort from the cream of the world's top women cyclists who will be aiming to take vital points in the bid for the prestigious title.
Cooke, who in 2003 became the first British rider to win a World Cup series, is currently fourth in this year's standings. She had a strong start to the series, winning first place ahead of the pack at Flche Wallonne in Belgium last month.
Looking forward to extending her record of wins, she is delighted at the boost to British women's cycling that the Newport World Cup will mean: "I've competed twice before at the Celtic Manor and it will be a fantastic venue for the first International standard women's race in Britain for nearly a decade. Cycling continues to go from strength to strength and to race against the best riders in the world in front of my home crowd will be very special. The Newport World Cup is definitely going to be one of the highlights of the season for me and hopefully it will develop into one of the classics of the racing calendar."
Alun Pugh AM commented: "Wales is fast building a reputation for hosting major sporting events and we're delighted to welcome the UCI Women's Road World Cup to Newport. Cycling is important both as an exciting spectator sport and as an activity that many of us can enjoy. In addition, Health Challenge Wales will be supporting BikeWales, the public ride event taking place on Sunday, August 21, which promises to be great fun for all ages and levels of ability."
The race starts and finishes at The Celtic Manor Resort and takes in Cats Ash Road, Langstone and the A48 to Caerwent. From there the riders will turn left towards Llanvair Discoed and the difficult climb of Wentwood. There is then a very fast decent to Llantrisant and Newbridge-on-Usk before the field turn left again on the Caerleon-Usk road. After passing through Caerleon the severe climb of Belmont Hill has to be tackled just before entering The Celtic Manor Resort to cross the finish line and complete one lap. The race takes in three full laps and six climbs to complete the course.
A full route description is available from the race website: www.worldcupcycling.com
More details on BikeWales from: www.bikewales.org
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