ELITE cycling will return to the streets of Redditch for what looks set to be the final time.
The Pearl Izumi Tour Series event takes place on Tuesday, May 19 and will see some of the top cyclists in the world go head-to-head around a specially designed town centre circuit.
It is the fourth year Redditch has hosted the Tour Series and this time around the town will be responsible for staging round two of the ten stage competition as well as the first race in the women’s contest.
Since the race first came to the borough in 2012 it has been watched by more than 40,000 people and added more than £100,000 to the local economy every year.
Redditch was set to host the race for the last time in 2014 but additional government funding meant Worcestershire County Council’s Choose How You Move project was able to secure a one year extension.
Efforts have been made to attract sponsorship from borough businesses to allow the event to continue on a long-term basis and the Kingfisher Shopping Centre is backing this year’s race.
But unless other businesses can be found to come on board May is likely to be the final time, for now at least, Redditch will be involved with the series.
Ken Williams, manager of the Kingfisher Shopping Centre, said: “We’ll be working closely with the co-ordinators of Worcestershire County Council and the broader steering group to ensure this Pearl Izumi Tour Series is the best yet.”
The elite races will begin at 6pm but a whole series of activities and community cycle races are planned in the town centre from 2pm.
It is the second major cycling event to take place in Worcestershire this year, with The Friends Life Tour Ride, financed by the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, being staged in the county for the first time.
The mass participation cycling event, associated with the Friends Life Tour of Britain cycle race, takes place on Sunday, October 4 and will see cyclists take on the 100-mile route showcasing some of the most attractive and hardest roads in Worcestershire, with a 60mile and 30mile option also available.