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Top cyclists will go wheel to wheel on the cobbled streets of Durham for not one, but three exciting races as the Tour Series returns.
In an evening of exciting sporting action on May 22 the men’s criterium will be joined by the Tour’s first ever hill climb race – a gruelling 500m up the cobbles of South Street – and a new race pitting some of the country’s finest female riders against each other.
Cllr Ossie Johnson, Cabinet member for tourism, culture, leisure and rural issues at Durham County Council, which hosts the race in partnership with organiser Sweetspot, said: "The Tour Series cycling is a fantastic event that in previous years has brought thousands of people out onto the city's streets, contributed hundreds of thousands of pounds to the county's economy and helped raise our profile regionally, nationally and internationally.
“The hard cobbled climbs, narrow streets and tight corners of our medieval surroundings makes for a superb sporting spectacle as some of the top riders in Britain compete on what has traditionally been one of the Tour's toughest courses.
“I hope to see many people out cheering on the competitors and perhaps being inspired to saddle up and improve their own health and wellbeing."
Now in its tenth season, The Tour Series - which is organised by the team behind the Tour of Britain - is a unique team-based, televised series of city centre cycle races.
Durham has hosted the Tour’s men’s races since 2010, and previous contests have seen stars such as Olympic, world and European team pursuit champion Ed Clancy, Teesside’s Harry Tanfield - who this week won a Commonwealth Games silver medal - and UCI Road World Championships junior time trial champion Tom Pidcock battling it out for one hour of racing, plus 5 laps.
Last year thousands of spectators lined the criterium’s course as riders rode laps of Cross Street, South Street, Grove Street and Margery Lane, at up to 50 kilometres per hour.
Race director Mick Bennett said: “The Tour Series remains as important as ever to Britain’s leading domestic teams, especially for those men’s squads who are seeking to qualify for this year’s OVO Energy Tour of Britain, so I have no doubt that we’re in for thrilling racing this May.”
The historic city will play host to both rounds four and five of the men’s ten race series, and a round of the women’s series, on Tuesday May 22.
Details of the teams and riders for this year’s race will be announced in the coming weeks.
For all the latest information about the Durham round of the tour, and to see highlights of last year’s race, visit www.durham.gov.uk/cyclingevents