Ilkley is to get its own nationally-recognised town centre cycle races just days before the Tour de France this summer.
Ilkley Cycling Club is holding the evening of town centre cycle races on Tuesday, July 1 – days before the Grand Depart of the Tour de France passes through the town on Saturday, July 5.
The club hopes the event will add to the festival atmosphere that Ilkley Parish Council, Ilkley Business Forum and other partners are aiming to create to realise the potential benefits of the Grand Depart for local residents, businesses and visitors to Ilkley, before, during and after the weekend of July 5 and 6.
There will be four separate races, catering for youth riders as well as the region’s top male and female riders, with up to 60 riders in each race.
Many in Ilkley will be familiar with the very successful and long-running Otley town centre races, which are now a highly popular fixture on the local social calendar, providing great sporting drama for the public to enjoy as well as bringing financial benefits to the town.
Both Lizzie Armitstead, from Otley, and Scott Thwaites, from Burley-in-Wharfedale, cut their teeth at the Otley town centre races.
Ilkley Cycling Club says holding town centre cycle races in Ilkley gives local youth riders another chance to race in front of a home crowd – and will hopefully inspire some of them to emulate their illustrious neighbours.
The challenging circuit has met with approval from Bradford Council and British Cycling.
In common with the Otley races, to stage the event safely it will be necessary to suspend temporarily on-street parking around the circuit and close the circuit’s roads to traffic during the event.
Residents with homes on or inside the circuit will shortly receive a letter explaining road closures, access arrangements and alternative parking during the evening.
Organiser Mike Firth said: “We’re looking forward to a set of exciting, atmospheric town centre races. Anyone who has been to the Otley event will understand the potential to create something very special, and encourage youth participation in the sport.
“We appreciate the co-operation and goodwill of residents and businesses on the circuit in helping us stage the event for everyone in the town.”
Potential competitors or sponsors, or anyone living or working on the circuit, can contact Mr Firth for further details by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. uk.