Location: Sport City, Manchester
Event: 4 June 2012
The Daily Mirror Great Manchester Cycle, the UK’s largest timed cycling event, was hailed a huge success as thousands of cyclists turned out in force to ride the closed road event on Monday 4 June.
Reigning Olympic champion Rebecca Romero and Lizzie Armitstead, who is a big hope for Olympic gold at this summer's road race in London, were among the 7,000 people who took part in the sell-out event.
The event featured three different distances based around a 13-mile closed road loop. Designed to cater for all abilities, riders could choose from, Get Out and Pedal over 13 miles, Rule the Roads over 26 miles, or for the more experienced riders, Test Yourself over 52 miles. British Cycling members were able to start at the very front of the ride, thanks to the exclusive start pen set up by event organisers.
The ride included feed stations and timing chips making the 52-mile version England’s First Closed Road Cyclosportive.
Starting at Eastlands, the home of Manchester City FC, riders were set off in waves, with British Cycling members leading the way. The 13-mile loop took riders through the districts of Manchester, allowing cyclists the chance to see their city from a new perspective. It also included part of the city’s most well known motorway, the Mancunian Way - normally strictly off limits to cyclists.
Lizzie Amitstead rode the 52-mile route and also set off the first wave of cyclists taking part in the 26-mile route.
“I spend a lot of time in Manchester and to be able to explore the city in this way is something I really wanted to do,” said Armitstead. “It was a fantastic day and something I was delighted to be a part of.”
Rebecca Romero, who was the ambassador of the event said: “This event is so great because it’s a big sporting event but it has closed roads and that’s unique.”
She continued: “For people who cycle recreationally, to have this kind of structured event with a timing chip and to have the route mapped out, is a great opportunity to test themselves.”
Other celebrities included, ex-England footballer Geoff Thomas and Ashes to Ashes actor Dean Andrews. Emmerdale’s Tom Lister (Carl King), Tony Audenshaw (Bob Hope) and Rik Makarem (Nikhil Sharma) were part of the Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research fundraising team known as “The Unstoppables” who pedalled alongside Corrie rivals Ryan Thomas (Jason Grimshaw), and Chris Fountain (Tommy Duckworth).
David Hart, Communications Director of organisers Nova International, said: “We were thrilled with the reaction to the Great Manchester Cycle, which in its first year, has become the UK’s biggest timed cycling event.”
He continued: “With the three distances, it was a celebration of cycling on the closed roads of Manchester to suit different levels of ability and we believe this event has a hugely exciting future.”
Part of a ‘Great’ festival of sport in Manchester this summer, the Daily Mirror Great Manchester Cycle joins a full programme that includes the UK’s most popular 10k, the Bupa Great Manchester Run and the British Gas Great Manchester Swim.
For more information please visit http://www.greatcycle.org.