Tour of Britain returns to Stoke-on-Trent

The Tour of Britain is to return to Stoke-on-Trent for the 5th successive year.

The city will host stage 5 of the event, starting from Trentham Gardens and finishing once again in the City Centre, on the way tackling Cannock Chase, the Staffordshire Moorlands and Gun Hill. Riders will have to climb over 2000 meters on this stage in what is being billed as the toughest tour to date by organisers.

The riders will have completed a 156 kilometre ride from Carlisle to Blackpool before they arrive in Stoke-on-Trent on Thursday 13 September. Continue reading

Stoke-on-Trent to host Halfords Tour Series 2012

Stoke-on-Trent has just been announced as the venue for the grand finale of the Halfords Tour Series 2012 cycling event.

Thursday 14th June will see the 10 leading british teams going head to head in a team trial event around the city centre circuit in Hanley in a spectacular final day of racing.

2012 will be the fourth time that the Halfords Tour Series has visited Stoke-on-Trent and the first time that it has hosted the grand finale.

In addition to the season closing circuit race, the unique televised, team based Series will also feature a team time trial for the first time ever on the final day of racing, named in honour of one of Stoke-on-Trent’s famous sons, cyclist Tommy Godwin. Continue reading

Stoke-on-Trent Tour stage sets TV viewing figures record

The Stoke-on-Trent stage of the 2011 Tour of Britain was easily the biggest hit with television viewers, recent audience figures have revealed.
 
Close to three quarters of a million people tuned in to ITV 4 to watch the hour-long highlights package of the 80 mile stage which began at Trentham Gardens and finished outside the Town Hall in the city centre.
 
The viewing figures were split over two days, with the initial programme shown on the night of the event on Tuesday September 13, with a repeat showing the following morning.
 
A record 592,000 watched Lars Boom power to victory up the hill on Albion Street, just hours after the event finished in the Stoke-on-Trent sunshine. A further 127,000 saw the repeat on Wednesday.
 
The closest stage to Stoke-on-Trent was Stage 4, when 649,000 tuned in over the two days to see the Welshpool to Caerphilly race.
 
The figures represent a record for the four-year period the event has been shown on ITV4 and was 250,000 more than watched the televised Stoke-on-Trent stage last year.
 
Organisers are delighted with the statistics, released by the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board, which indicate the UK’s growing fascination with cycling.
 

The figures all over the country were vastly up on last year, with Stoke-on-Trent breaking records. Nearly three quarters of a million is on a par with ITV4′s Tour De France figures. It is great news for everyone and shows that the event and the sport is growing rapidly in popularity.

 
This year’s event was the fourth time the Tour of Britain has come to Stoke-on-Trent, with more and more local people coming out to watch each year.
 
In September Mark Cavendish took part in the race, using it as a warm-up event for the World Championships a week later ““ which he duly won.
 
Since then Cavendish, a favourite for Olympic Gold next July in London, has joined Team Sky which increases the chances of the 20-time Tour De France Stage winner taking part in his home tour each year.
 
Initial reports suggest that the Tour resulted in a net economic impact of over £3.5 million for the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire region, with further results expected next week.
 
In further good news, the city council Event’s Team has won recognition after being awarded a runner’s up place in a competition run by sponsors Halfords for the Tour Series Event back in June.
 
The award was based on the supporting events, promotion and effort. Stoke-on-Trent were judged second out of eight venues which will result in a number of prizes for the council. 
 
Stoke-on-Trent engaged local schools and community cycling groups for the day’s activities with a great response. The team at Stoke-on-Trent also worked well during the planning process, making sure everyone was up-to-date with their plans and also open to suggestions and developments.

 
The city council’s Events Team were beaten into second place by Colchester, but were granted runner’s up ahead of other race hosts’ such as Oldham, Exeter and London. They will receive a certificate, a trophy and a framed winners’ jersey.
 
All of this is really good news. This year’s cycle events have been better than ever. That so many people tuned into our stage shows how popular cycling is in this region and how good a job our team do in putting it on with partners. It is great to see Stoke-on-Trent setting records.
 
That our Events team has also been recognised for their excellent work is fantastic. London has a stage of the Tour of Britain and also a leg of the Tour Series and more people watched on TV to see our city’s Tour of Britain stage than they did for the one in the Capital and our leg of the Tour Series has been judged a better event than the one in Canary Wharf by sponsors’. This shows exactly what the city is capable of and is reward for everyone’s good work.

 
This is brilliant news. It is fantastic that so many people watched the Stoke-on-Trent stage on television ““ and a record too! It was a wonderful day, it is a fantastic event and let’s hope we can bring it back next year.

Tour Of Britain 2010 In Stoke-on-Trent

On Sunday Stage 2 of the prestigious Tour of Britain was held in Stoke-on-Trent. It began in Burslem and finished in Hanley with Team Sky’s Greg Henderson victorious.

The sun was out in Stoke-on-Trent on Sunday which was a relief for the riders and teams after the rain they experienced during the first Stage of the race which went from Rochdale to Blackpool.

The race, which helped to celebrate the centenary of Stoke-on-Trent, was started in Burslem by Port Vale players Adam Yates and Sean Rigg and Stoke-on-Trent Lord Mayor Denver Tolley. This brought thousands of people to Burslem which was brimming with activity and enthusiasm. From the Swan Bank Mission holding an outdoor sermon & games at 8 o’clock, to Danny Butler doing almost impossible feats on a mountain bike and Boomer the Port Vale mascot, there was something for everyone.

Most of the shops had opened for the event and according to the shop keepers they had their most profitable day ever and all crammed in before lunch!

The 100 mile stage was completed on Sunday in Hanley with Team Sky’s Greg Henderson achieving the coveted 1st place and Team HTC ““ Columbia’s Michael Albasini and Cervelo Test Team’s Heinrich Haussler, achieving 2nd and 3rd place respectively.

Henderson’s win was not always certain throughout the race. The competition was fierce and Henderson formed part of a high-quality front group which broke away from the peloton after around 10 km of the race. This group including the other two riders who placed in the top three: Albasini and Haussler, as well as Sprints Jersey holder Richie Porte, Welshman Rob Partridge, Vacansoleil duo Borut Bozic and Michal Golas and also importantly Henderson’s Sky teammates Bradley Wiggins and Geraint Thomas.

As the race headed towards Stoke-on-Trent, Team Sky began driving at the front, sensing the potential to set Henderson up for the win, so when Haussler (who eventually came 3rd) and Golas built up a 13 second lead close to Stoke-on-Trent, Henderson’s Sky teammates Wiggins and Thomas rode the duo down in order to leave the way clear for Henderson.

This then led to an exciting 13 rider sprint up the tough uphill finish to Hanley Town Hall. Henderson was victorious with a 14 second lead which secured him the yellow jersey as he enters the third stage of The Tour of Britain.

Stage 3 sees The Tour of Britain return to Wales for the first time since 2004, as The Tour races through mid-Wales from Newtown to Swansea, via the King of the Mountains climb of Black Mountain.

The Tour of Britain’s visit to Stoke-on-Trent, which included a tour of the 6 towns to celebrate Stoke-on-Trent’s centenary year, was wonderfully received and provided, not only a boost for the city’s traders, but also a great day out for cycling fans and spectators alike.

Pictures by Scott Sharman Photography

Tour of Britain Road Closures

This Sunday sees the Tour of Britain return to the streets of Stoke-on-Trent for the third successive year. The tour will once again start and finish in the city.

To help celebrate the centenary of the federation of the 6 towns, the 100 mile tour stage will start at the Market Place in Burslem, and pass though Tunstall, Stoke, Longton, Fenton, aswell as some of Staffordshire’s most picturesque countryside before finishing outside the Town Hall in Hanley.

Because the tour is visiting each of the 6 towns during the day there will be extensive road closures. A traffic order has been put in place for the day and full details of the affected roads are:

Roads to be closed between 5am and 8pm
Albion Street – From Broad Street to Lichfield Street
Tontine Street – The whole
Old Hall Street – From Albion Square to Lichfield Street

Roads to be closed between 9am and 6pm
Broad Street – Potteries Way to Marsh Street South
Potteries Way – From Broad Street to Lichfield Street
Sceptre Street – The whole
Orb Street – The whole
Crown Street – The whole
Warner Street – From Broad Street for a distance of 30 metres in a southerly direction
Bethesda Street – From Albion Street to John Street
Derby Street – From Lichfield Street for a distance of 20 metres in a north-easterly direction
Lower Bethesda Street – From Potteries Way to Jasper Street
Bethesda Street – From Potteries Way to Ranelagh Street
Cannon Street – From Potteries Way for a distance of 10 metres in a north-easterly direction
Hinde Street – From Potteries Way for a distance of 50 metres in a south-westerly direction

Roads to be closed between 12.30pm and 3pm
Barlaston Road – The whole
Trentham Road – From Barlaston Road to The Strand
The Strand – The whole
Times Square – The whole
King Street – The whole
Victoria Place – The whole
Victoria Road – The whole
Lichfield Street – The whole
John Street – The whole
Bethesda Street – From John Street to Potteries Way

Roads to be closed between 9am and 11am
Scotia Road – From Wedgwood Place to Williamson Street
Williamson Street – The whole
Brownhills Road – The whole
Davenport Street – The whole
Newcastle Street – The whole
Woodbank Street – The whole
Baptist Street – The whole
Waterloo Road – From Baptist Street to Cobridge Road
Cobridge Road – From Waterloo Road to Etruria Road
Etruria Road – From Cobridge Road to Etruria Vale Road
Etruria Vale Road – The whole
Bedford Road – The whole
Howard Place – The whole

In previous years the tour has been well supported by the people of Stoke-on-Trent and this year even more people will be able to get involved and watch the race as is passes through the city, nobody in Stoke-on-Trent should need to travel more than a few miles to see the race.

The weather forecast for Sunday is relatively fine so why not come out and support the teams and riders.

If you are planning to go to watch the start of the race in Burslem there is free car parking at Port Vale.

The full estimated race times for the route are downloadable as a pdf document below.

The Tour Series Returns To Stoke-on-Trent

The Halfords Tour Series returns to Hanley, tomorrow night, stage 8 of the 10 round city centre cycling race series, will bring a unique gladiatorial and exciting team racing event to the streets of Hanley.

The teams with race around a 1200 meter course around the city centre in what is a fast paced and exciting race for spectators, with only a few moments between the last rider passing you and the lead pack appearing again. The race lasts for 1 hour plus 5 laps with a number of laps being ‘sprint laps’ where teams & riders can win extra cash prizes during the race.

This years team are:

MOTORPOINT MARSHALLS PASTA
RAPHA CONDOR SHARP
ENDURA RACING
SIGMA SPORT SPECIALIZED
PENDRAGON LE COL COLNAGO
TEAM RALEIGH
CYCLEPREMIER.COM – METALTEK
TEAM CORLEY CYCLES
KUOTA – ROAD CC
TEAM IRELAND

The series started at Canary Wharf on 25 May and has visited Durham, Portsmouth, Exeter, Southport, Kettering & Peterborough already with a visit to Chester on Monday 21 June before the final stage on Woking on Thursday 24 June.

The mens race starts at 7pm but there are plenty of other events & stalls to see around the city centre before they races.

The inaugural Horizon Fitness Women’s Grand Prix is taking place in the afternoon around the same circuit.

The Horizon Fitness Women’s Grand Prix will see riders from Motorpoint Marshalls Pasta, Rapha Condor Sharp, Horizon Fitness and other teams, taking part and giving the public an opportunity to see the best women racers in the UK on the 1.2KM Stoke-On-Trent circuit.

Mick Bennett, Technical Director for The Halfords Tour Series said, ‘The Horizon Fitness Women’s Grand Prix is being run as a pilot event this year. We are looking at the possibility of running a wider women’s Series as part of The Halfords Tour Series 2011.’

Jon Johnston, Managing Director for Horizon Fitness added, ‘Women’s cycling is becoming increasingly popular, and as sponsors of a successful women’s racing team with Olympic hopefuls, we are delighted to be supporting this new initiative. The Halfords Tour Series is the natural place for a race of this calibre, and we are optimistic that this will be the start of a regular women’s Tour Series. With the build up to the Olympics in 2012, and the increasing focus on sport, health and wellbeing, we hope that this race and the team will inspire people to get more active, and also encourage youngsters, both male and female, to take up sport.’

The winner of the Women’s Grand Prix race will receive the same cash prize as the race winner in the men’s race, and additional cash prizes will be on offer to the top 15 finishers of the Horizon Fitness Women’s Grand Prix. The race will be 30 minutes plus 5 laps.

The afternoon & evenings events are sure to be exciting and well worth a trip in to Hanley to watch.

Work begins on Cycle Stoke Grange Park Greenway project

By Pits n Pots Reporter

Work to improve a series of city cycle routes will begin this week ahead of schedule, following consultations with local residents.

The work will see improvements made to Grange Park Greenway in Cobridge, almost a month sooner than planned. It will include enhancing existing footpaths as well as the creation of a new path which will link the area to the Trent and Mersey canal network.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s Cycle Stoke initiative has given the project a £441,000 funding boost to allow the work to take place, after a series of consultation events with residents.

The scheme, part of Stoke-on-Trent’s Cycling City status, has resulted in nearly £10million being made available for a programme of improvements and projects over a three year period.

The initial work on the Grange Park Greenway will start with the creation of a 2.5m wide path between Pleasant Street and Festival Park. Once completed work will then begin on a key route between Stonor Street and Festival Way.

Councillor Derek Capey, Stoke-on-Trent City Council cabinet member for sport, leisure, parks and open spaces, said: “This is more great news for cyclists in Stoke-on-Trent. There are now approximately 130km of cycling networks across the city and the Grange Park Greenway will provide another great opportunity for people of all ages to get on a bike and cycle safely throughout the city.”

Future plans are now being discussed to look at additional ways of enhancing the landscape and providing more features for families to enjoy.

Public consultation event for city cycleways

By Pits n Pots Reporter

City residents are being urged to have their say on proposed cycle routes across the city.

As part of Stoke-on-Trent’s Cycling City funding the council is holding a consultation day at the Function Hall, Cobridge Community Centre on Bursley Road, Cobridge from 1.00pm until 7.00pm tomorrow (July 14). Â  Two new cycle routes are planned in Grange Park. The day will give residents the chance to have a look at the planned routes and comment on what they think.

Derek Capey

Derek Capey

Councillor Derek Capey, Stoke-on-Trent City Council cabinet member for sports and leisure, said: “With the number of people choosing to cycle increasing it’s important that we as a city provide suitable, safe and easily accessible cycle routes.

“It’s fantastic that Stoke-on-Trent has been awarded Cycling City status and we must now use the funds provided to improve and create new routes with the help of our residents.”

The proposed routes are:

1) Festival Way to Stonor Street: Proposed shared footway/cycleway

A 2/2.5m wide shared surfaced footway and cycleway is proposed to be constructed on Grange Park between Stonor Street, Middleport and the northern end of Festival Way. The route is already identified on the Stoke on Trent Cycling Map but is not surfaced at present. It will provide an important link in the cycling network linking Middleport and the A50 to the Festival Park/Trent and Mersey Canal. This route runs along side the northern boundary of Air Products Ltd.

2) Peacock Street, Middleport to Festival Park Retail Park: Proposed shared footway/cycleway

This proposal consists of a 2.5m wide shared footway and cycleway to be constructed in Grange Park from Peacock Street linking to Bursley Road, Stonor Street and the existing red ashed path which links to the northern end of Festival Park. The route would then be signed to Morrison’s along existing paths in Festival Park. This route would provide a direct link from Burslem and Middleport to the Festival Park Retail complex which will avoid the A50 Waterloo Road and A53 Leek Road.

Stoke-on-Trent benefits from a cycle network of over 130km of routes both on and off road and they are designed to make it easier for local people to cycle to school, work or simply to enjoy a leisurely ride.

Stoke-on-Trent has been awarded Cycling City status by Cycling England who work on behalf of the Department for Transport; one of only eighteen towns and cities across England to be awarded with this accolade.

An additional £4.8 million of cycle funding has been made available (up until March 2011) to spend on cycling projects and initiatives. This funding will enable existing paths and new routes to be improved and created.

Olympic star kicks off Tour Series day in Stoke-on-Trent

By: Pits’n’Pots Reporter

World Champion and Olympic BMX rider Shanaze Reade will be starting one of the biggest sporting days in Stoke-on-Trent’s history tomorrow, Tuesday 16 June.

Shanaze will be at the forefront of the day’s events as the city hosts the latest leg of the Tour Series cycle race, meeting amateur riders in the morning, through to being a guest of honour at the race itself that evening.

In the morning, Shanaze will welcome city council employees who have been encouraged to cycle to work at a special bikers’ breakfast at the civic centre. As well as meeting Shanaze, people taking part will be able to choose from a range of healthy food, find out more about the city’s cycling projects and the Tour Series itself.

Then, she will open the first school based BMX track in the country at Burnwood Primary School in Chell Heath. Burnwood already has a velodrome and a mountain bike track, and this will complete its current plans to encourage cycling among young people.

Shanaze will then travel to the city centre to watch the activities in the build up to the race itself. At 3pm a schools race, to be screened on ITV4 as part of their Tour Series coverage, will feature around 80 children from across the city. Each competitor taking part will be presented with a medal by Shanaze.

Shanaze said: “This is a really exciting day and I’m looking forward to being involved. To have a whole day dedicated to cycling, ending in an international standard race is brilliant for Stoke-on-Trent. Â  It’ll be difficult watching and not being able to take part in some way, because of my injury. If I can help show cycling is one of the best ways to travel and stay healthy though, then just being here will be good enough. Â Ã‚  It’s important that not just young people get involved in cycling, but people of all ages to take it up. Hopefully National Bike Week, of which this day is part, will encourage more and more people to get on their bikes.”

After the younger riders have been on the circuit, a veterans’ ride then takes place, with Olympic athletes from the past taking to the track for a 40 minute ride. This is followed by more events for young people across the city centre including roadshows and “Alley Cat Games”, showcasing sprinting games for young children.

From 6pm, the professional riders start to warm up on the circuit, before the race itself begins at 7pm. Staffordshire based team CandiTV Pinarello currently head the leaderboard on 56 points, and will be looking to extend their lead before heading off to Colchester for the next round on Thursday.

Richard Radcliffe, from Stoke-on-Trent City Council, added: “The Tour Series is a great event for the city. We want to bring as many international standard events to Stoke-on-Trent as possible. Â  We have already seen the positive effect the likes of the Tour of Britain, the visit of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Pele, and the Love Music Hate Racism Festival have had, and it’s something we want to build on. Â  The Tour Series is an exciting, fast paced race and we’re hoping that plenty of people turn up to watch, and those working in the city centre stay on and enjoy a great evening’s entertainment.”

School children inspired by Tour Series team

By Mike Rawlins

Over 500 children at four schools across Stoke-on-Trent were given a special preview of the upcoming Tour Series cycle race taking place in the city.

Riders from the Stone-based CandiTV Pinarello team visited Glebe Primary School in Fenton, St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Norton-le-Moors, Our Lady St. Benedicts School in Abbey Hulton and Eaton Park Primary in Bucknall, giving out caps and telling children about the event.

The Tour Series is a circuit race taking place in city centres across the country, and on Tuesday 16 June, the seventh stage arrives in Stoke-on-Trent.

CandiTV Pinarello are currently leading the ride, and their visits yesterday were to encourage children to take up cycling and to be mascots for the race next week.

Team Manager Phil Griffiths said: “We want to try and encourage as many people as possible to take up cycling, and that means getting out to schools and communities and telling them how much fun it can be, as well as a brilliant sport to watch. Â  When the Tour Series arrives in Stoke-on-Trent, it’ll be like it’s coming to our own back yard, and we’re determined to do the best we can in front of what we hope will be a big crowd.”

Nicki Wilkes, deputy headteacher at Glebe Primary School, added: “It was great for the children to be able to see some of the bikes and equipment up close, and those who will be mascots on the day are really excited. Â  It’s a fantastic event for the city and will really put us on the international map.”

Activities will be taking place throughout the day on 16 June, with a commuter challenge taking place from 8am, where a cyclist, a jogger, a motorist and public transport will compete for the fastest route from Trentham Hotel to Stoke’s Civic Centre.

A special biker’s breakfast will take place at 9am, where Crewe’s World Champion cyclist Shanaze Reade will make a speech.

Shanaze will again be the guest of honour at the official opening of Burnwood Primary’s new BMX track at 11am.

At 3pm, the 10 student mascots will lead children from 22 schools on a ride through the city centre.

And, after other events, the day will culminate in the Tour Series race itself, as 50 riders complete up to 50 circuits of Town Road, Old Hall Street, Cheapside, Stafford Street and Quadrant Road, from 7pm ““ starting and finishing outside the Potteries Shopping Centre.

Below are pictures from CandiTV Pinarello’s visit to Eaton Park Primary