Stoke-on-Trent will host two major cycling events this summer.
The Tour Series circuit race will arrive in the city centre for the eighth time on Thursday, May 11, featuring seven professional men’s teams, as well as the women’s Matrix Fitness Grand Prix Series.
And just four weeks later on Thursday, June 8, the city will welcome stage two of the Women’s Tour, the UK’s biggest professional women’s race. It will be the first time the city has hosted a start and finish stage for the race, which ends in London three days later. Details of the complete route will be released in the coming weeks.
Councillor Terry Follows, the city council’s cabinet member for greener city, development and leisure, said: “We’re delighted to be welcoming two top cycling events to the city this summer. Both of them promise to be real spectacles for the public and with them being only four weeks apart, there should be a real buzz in the city. We will also have a range of fun community activities taking place to support both events on the day.
“It will be the second time we have hosted the UK’s biggest professional women’s race, following last year’s visit won by former World and Olympic Champion Marianne Vos, and we’re very excited to have a start and finish stage for the first time. Last year we were a European City of Sport for the UK which was a fantastic achievement but a big part of it was creating a legacy which went beyond the 12 months, and these events continue our long association with cycling.
“Both races give people fantastic opportunities to watch at the start, finish or along the route and get themselves right next to the action. The races will draw crowds into the city, which is great news for our businesses and economy, and will hopefully inspire more people to take up cycling and get active. They will also raise our profile on a national and international level, showcasing all that is great about Stoke-on-Trent and showing our ability to host top events as we bid to become UK City of Culture in 2021.”
All of the world’s top 15 teams will take part in the Women’s Tour, which is a part of the UCI Women’s WorldTour, including the world’s number one team Boels Dolmans, of defending race champion Lizzie Deignan, ensuring fans can again look forward to cheering on the world’s best riders. The Tour Series will be headlined by defending champions JLT Condor, and will include ONE Pro Cycling, who return to The Tour Series after a year away. The 2014 champions Madison Genesis return along with Team Raleigh GAC, Bike Channel Canyon, Metaltek Kuota and Series debutants Morvélo Basso.
Highlights of both races will be broadcast on ITV4 and available on demand via the ITV Hub.
Race director Mick Bennett said: “Stoke-on-Trent has been a longstanding supporter of both The Tour Series and women’s cycling. Our very first women’s event was held in the city in 2010 as part of the Tour Series, so to be bringing both The Tour Series and the Women’s Tour to the city centre this summer is excellent news. The two events will give cycling fans from the city and further afield the chance to watch some of the very best cyclists in action in Stoke-on-Trent.
"The Tour Series is action-packed and great for spectators, with two hours of elite racing across both the men and women’s event, so the perfect chance to see up close just how fast and skilful these riders are. That the city is also hosting the Women’s Tour, a part of the UCI Women’s WorldTour, will put Stoke-on-Trent on the world map for women’s sport.”