The Tour Series, the elite city centre cycle race series, will return this weekend after over two years away.
The North Yorkshire market town of Guisborough will host the first of three rounds that comprise the 2021 series on Sunday (8th August), before the action continues in Sunderland (Tuesday 10th August) and Castle Douglas (Thursday 12th August). These rounds will be the first to take place since last series to date culminated at the historic Brooklands venue in Surrey at the end of May in 2019; last year’s series was cancelled owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, before this year’s event was rescheduled from its traditional May position.
Since its inception in 2009, the Tour Series has become a cornerstone of the British racing calendar, helped in part by the ITV4 highlights shows from each round. A condensed series set across entirely new venues, combined with a talented array of teams, means that the series will once again go down to the wire.
As well as a leg north of the border, a Scottish team will be in action in the men’s series whilst a number of female riders will don the colours of their trade teams.
Cameron Richardson, who is part of the Scottish Cycling Performance Programme, is relishing the chance to wear the Team Scotland kit, noting:
“I’m really looking forward to the opportunity. It’s not often that you get to represent your country so I’m looking to make the most of it! There hasn’t been much national racing the past couple of seasons so I reckon everyone will be quite twitchy - we just have to stay out of trouble, get near the front and anything could happen. I’m looking forward to the round at Castle Douglas the most simply because it’s in Scotland and it will be great to have some home support - I’ve also heard that course is going to be brutal!”
Fraser Martin, who usually riders for Wheelbase CabTech Castelli, will also be racing in the blue, purple and white this time around, added:
“It’s going to be exciting for sure, these events always are! Hopefully we have crowds back because the atmosphere at Tour Series is usually great. It’s possible the racing will be more aggressive as there will be more at stake for riders looking for contracts next year. Everyone will be desperate to show what they can do after such a long time away from racing!”
On the female side, Scottish representation will come from the likes of Beth Morrow and Imani Pereira-James, as well as newly crowned Scottish Road Race Champion Becky Storrie.
Beth Morrow, who usually races for Storey Racing, commented:
“It is my first time at the Tour Series and I’m riding with Skoda. It’s a different format of racing to usual with a rest day in-between each of the three Crit races, so I’m really excited to see how well the team and I can do.”
Round three in Castle Douglas will be centred around Market Hill, the scene of André Greipel’s victory on day one of the 2016 Tour of Britain. The circuit, which includes Queen Street, St Andrew Street, Church Street and Academy Street, features long straights and 90-degree corners. It also offers a range of great viewing opportunities for spectators for both men’s and women’s race; owing to the current Covid-19 guidance, this round remains FREE to attend but is ticketed. Visit bit.ly/TSCDtickets to register for tickets.
In addition to the ITV4 highlights programmes, all of which will be broadcast at 7pm the day after their respective round, extensive race day coverage will be available on the series’ digital platforms. Round three in Castle Douglas will also be covered via the Scottish Cycling Instagram and Twitter pages.
The Tour Series remains unique in professional cycling owing to its team-based format. The aim for teams is to complete the race in the lowest cumulative time. Teams are permitted to start each race with five riders, and it is the combined time of their three (women’s series) and four (men’s series) highest-placed riders that decides who is the fastest on the night.
We can’t wait for the racing to get started in Cleveland on Sunday and good luck to all the Scots involved.
Your Scotland team for round one: