Cycling legend Chris Boardman led a ride around the Pennines to preview this year’s British Cycling Road Race Championships on 27 June.
The race will start and finish in Pendle, Lancashire, and will put the country’s top cyclists to the test just days before the start of the Tour de France.
The National Cyclosportive will take place on the same weekend and will give amateur riders the chance to take on much of the same route as professionals like Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish, Nicole Cooke and Emma Pooley.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for some top British riders, past and present, to try out this new route ahead of the National Championship in June,” said Brian Cookson, president of British Cycling, who’s also Pendle Borough Council’s director of regeneration. “The races this summer will bring a much needed boost to our tourism economy, helping many local businesses in Barley, Roughlee and Newchurch, and right across Pendle.”
The race starts in the village of Barley and boasts a succession of steep climbs with virtually no flat sections to provide a respite but plenty of technical descents, twists and turns, narrow roads and cattlegrids to negotiate.
Pete Matthews, the 1968 national champion and designer of one of Boardman’s bikes, attended the launch, along with author and pioneer British Tour de France rider Tony Hewson and Alan Gornall, a Commonwealth Games gold medal-winning cyclist who lives locally in Barnoldswick.
This race replaces the Tour of Pendle, which has been run for four years, and builds on the annual Cycle-Fest attraction in Pendle. “This is our chance to put the area on the map,” said council leader John David.