The 2012 Halfords Tour Series will be the biggest yet, with eleven rounds taking the series to England, Scotland and now Wales, as Aberystwyth today confirmed it would return to the unique, team based series along with Durham also being announced as a venue.
Aberystwyth professional cyclist and Welsh road race champion Gruff Lewis (Team UK Youth) is also due to ride
Aberystwyth will once again welcome Britain’s top professional cyclists as The Halfords Tour Series rides into town on Friday 25 May, the first time a Tour Series round has been held on a Friday. With the Olympic torch also visiting Aberystwyth on Sunday 27 May, an exciting Aberystwyth Cycle Festival has been announced for the May weekend.
The televised race will come to Durham on the evening of Thursday 17 May, with highlights screened the following evening on ITV4. The Durham leg of the race, which takes in steep hills, tight turns and cobbled streets, has been described in previous years as ‘purgatory’ by the cyclists taking part.
Aberystwyth has again been chosen as one of the host UK wide venues and the sole Welsh venue, which also includes Kirkcaldy, Colchester and Torquay. The series pits ten professional cycling teams against each other in a one hour action packed race on closed city centre circuits.
The Halfords Tour Series begins in Kirkcaldy, Fife on Tuesday 15 May. The remaining venues for this year's series will be unveiled shortly.
At last year’s inaugural event, over 2,500 spectators came out to see Olympic gold medallist Ed Clancy (Rapha Condor Sharp) sprint to victory. Among those riders due to compete in the Series year are defending Aberystwyth champion Clancy, fellow Olympian Steven Burke (Team IG Sigma Sport) Russell Downing (Endura Racing) and his brother Dean (Rapha Condor Sharp), with the siblings having won seven Tour Series races between them in the past three seasons.
The challenging one-kilometre circuit covers Aberystwyth’s attractive promenade, circumnavigating the Royal Pier, the historic Old College and 12th Century Castle before heading into the town centre via a tough climb up through Sea View Place, followed by St James square and onto Pier Street, ensuring that the town is portrayed to its beautiful best to a national audience.
Aberystwyth professional cyclist and Welsh road race champion Gruff Lewis (Team UK Youth) is also due to ride and is excited at the prospect of racing on home turf once again.
Last year’s event also brought other bonuses according to the leader of Ceredigion Council, Cllr Keith Evans. “We have estimated that the race injected around £200,000 to the local economy through hotel accommodation mainly with 68% of spectators coming from outside Aberystwyth and about half of these from outside Wales. The following night’s television programme attracted a further 300,000 viewers. This can only mean good news for the town and the return of the race gives us an opportunity to build on that success.”
The Halfords Tour Series will be the main Aberystwyth Cycle Festival event on Friday 25 May. The promenade will feature a host of stalls and exhibition stands from midday and support races start at 2pm featuring races for local schoolchildren, traders versus students, beginner adults and top amateur racers in the run up to the main event at 7pm.
Aberystwyth Cycle Festival will be held over two days – Friday 25 to Saturday 26 May - and will shortly announce a series of events to be held on Saturday 26 May. Designed for the whole family, these events will appeal to cyclists and non-cyclists alike and are likely to draw in significantly more crowds than last year, both locally and from further afield.