This summer some of the UK’s top professional cycling teams will battle it out in 10 town and city centres across the country.
They will be taking part in The Tour Series, a new concept in cycle racing where results are based on team performance rather than individual results.
Starting on 21 May in Milton Keynes, 10 teams of 5 will compete to be named overall champions. With two races a week, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, organisers are promising a carnival atmosphere at each of the venues.
Each night the teams will aim to place their top three riders in the highest positions at the end of one hour of intense, fast-paced and attack-filled racing around a 1-1.5km city centre circuit.
Two times British champion Brian Smith, the series’ Director of Racing, said: “British cycling’s success at the Olympics, coupled with the rise in profile of the Premier Calendar and Tour Of Britain, has meant there are a greater number of cycling teams forming and those already in existence have become stronger.
“The Tour Series teams have been selected from the best of these professional teams in the UK and this sets the scene for a showdown of British cycling talent. The fast and furious racing will bring the razzamataz of cycling to our city centres.”
Ten of the best professional teams in the UK have been invited to race in The Tour Series. Each squad will nominate five riders for each race.
Nine towns and cities are already confirmed as venues – Milton Keynes, Exeter, Woking, Peterborough, Blackpool, Southport, Stoke-on-Trent and Chester, with the finals of the series being staged in Southend. The final city will be announced soon. Each round will be televised via a major terrestrial broadcaster.
Phil Corley, manager of Team Corley Cycles, said: “Having competed in many city centre races in the ’70s and ’80s, I appreciate the excitement created by this type of high-speed, close-quarter racing. This is a great opportunity to bring this back to the public and keep cycle racing on an upward curve. The team format of this series will allow different tactics to be involved and ensure all riders have a significant part to play in the outcome.”
His team leader, Simon Gaywood, added: “I’m really excited at the prospect of racing in front of large crowds and it has brought out a renewed enthusiasm for me. The team aspect of The Tour Series throws up different challenges than usual, in that we can’t concentrate solely on the winner, but must consider maximising the performance of the whole team. I’m fortunate that the other members of Team Corley are as committed as I am and we look forward to being very competitive.”