THOUSANDS of people are expected to pack into Redditch Town Centre next month as elite cycling returns to the borough for the third time.
Organisers hope this year’s Pearl Izumi Tour Series event on Tuesday, June 3 will be the biggest and best yet , following on from the 2013 race which saw 12,000 visitors pour into Redditch to enjoy the action.
The Redditch stage will be particularly important for the Starley Primal team as it is the home race of sponsors Rotor, based in nearby Stratford.
Rider George Pym took on the Redditch challenge last year, which includes the climb up Unicorn Hill, and said he had hopes of performing well.
“It’s one of the easier circuits which generally makes for better racing so it’s more open for teams other than the leading teams.” he said.
“I think I can get results at some point during this series and hopefully one in Redditch.”
The Redditch event is being funded by Worcestershire County Council’s Choose How You Move project to get more people walking, cycling or using public transport and figures show 61 per cent of people who attended last year’s race were inspired to get on a bike as a result.
George himself took up cycling after watching a Tour Series race in 2009 in his home town of Exeter.
“I thought wow this is pretty cool so I went to my local club, started racing and went further and further through it and I’m in the position now where I’m racing the race that got me into cycling.”
Teammate Will Fox was part of the side that won in Redditch last year but was not selected for the clash and is hoping he will get a chance to test his skills this time around.
“There’s nothing quite like the Tour Series. The crowds are bigger and the atmosphere and the build-up is the best thing about it, there’s a real carnival feel.”
The event opens with a parade at 2pm led by a samba performance by children from St George’s First School, scooting by pupils from Roman Way First School and a performance from the Matchborough First Academy cheerleaders.
There will then be a series of school and business races, followed by a timed challenge on the circuit by members of Redditch Road and Path Club before the women take to the track for round four of the Matrix Fitness Grand Prix Series.
Then at 7.30pm the men will start their quest for points in round seven of this year’s championship.