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.

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.

Three Tours To Come To Stoke-on-Trent In Anniversary Year

The UK’s biggest free sporting event is to return to Stoke-on-Trent this summer when the Tour of Britain comes back to the streets of the city.

The Tour will showcase some of the worlds best cyclists for the third successive time and it forms part of a summer of cycling in Stoke-on-Trent’s centenary year.

As well as The Tour of Britain, the Halfords Tour Series will take place in the city centre on the 17th June and then The Prostate Cancer Charity Tour Ride will see thousands of amateur cyclists taking to the region’s roads on the 26th September following the same route as the pros, two weeks after the Tour of Britain.

Plans and routes for all events will be announced at an official launch of the three Tour events at the Regent Theatre in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent on Monday 19 April.

Last year all three tours took place in the city, which saw tens of thousands of people come out in support and which collectively brought in an economic impact worth millions of pounds.

In 2010, the year of the 100th anniversary of the federation of the six towns of Stoke-on-Trent, there will be a special centenary theme to each event.

Hugh Roberts, Chief Executive of The Tour of Britain, added:

“We are delighted to be working alongside Stoke-on-Trent City Council to bring our cycling events to the city in its centenary year. The people of Stoke-on-Trent and the West Midlands have certainly taken The Tour of Britain to their hearts, and we enjoy an immensely productive relationship with our stakeholders in the city, who work tirelessly on our behalf to engage the community and local schools with these exciting, free to attend elite sporting events. We look forward greatly to another fantastic year of cycling in Stoke-on-Trent”.

Last year The Prostate Cancer Charity Tour Ride saw 1300 people of all ages and abilities take up the cycle challenge on three different routes and distances, and John Neate, CEO of The Prostate Cancer Charity said:

“We are delighted to be bringing The Prostate Cancer Charity Tour Ride back to Stoke-on-Trent this year. The inaugural Tour Ride in Stoke-on-Trent and the West Midlands in 2009 was hugely successful and we received extremely positive feedback from participants about the organisation of the day and the fact that they could take on a leg of the actual Tour of Britain for the first time.

“Following on from this success, we look forward to welcoming thousands of amateur cyclists of all abilities to take part in the Stoke-on-Trent event on the 26th September this year. Of course, everyone who takes part, as well as completing a personal challenge, will be helping the Charity to raise awareness of prostate cancer and helping us to raise funds to fight the disease, which kills one man every hour in the UK.

“There is a very clear connection between The Tour of Britain and our priorities here at The Prostate Cancer Charity, so this is a very exciting partnership for us. Cycling is obviously associated with health benefits and as a healthy lifestyle is central to minimising the risks of cancer, this key event in the cycling calendar very much ties in with the Charity’s aims. We look forward to working closely with Stoke-on-Trent city council in their centenary year to put on another very successful Tour Ride event”.

Actors John Pickard and Nicole Barber – stars of Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks – are taking part in the ride and will be at the Stoke-on-Trent launch on Monday.

John Pickard added:

“I am really excited about taking on The Prostate Cancer Charity’s Stoke Tour Ride. Last years event sounded like a lot of fun and it will be amazing to do something so challenging. My grandfather had prostate cancer and so I know more than most about the impact that the disease can have on a family. My character, Dom, would never take on an event like this but I am definitely geared up for it. The Tour Rides offer different distances for cyclists of all abilities and are all about getting people to Unite ByCycling. I would urge anyone who wants a fun and exciting challenge, to sign up today to take part.”

Last June the Tour Series took place in the city for the first time, with thousands of people coming out to watch the race in the city centre, with hundreds of thousands more watching the televised highlights on ITV.

This year the criterium returns and as well as the men’s Halfords Tour Series race, Stoke-on-Trent will be the venue for the only women’s race in the UK Series, when the Horizon Fitness Grand Prix takes place on the main circuit earlier in the afternoon.

Tour Series Technical Director Mick Bennett said:

“Last year’s inaugural Tour Series was a great success, and in fact the Stoke-on-Trent round saw the most exciting racing of all, with ten teams of professional riders giving their all in front of packed crowds in the city centre. This year we are proud to be working alongside Stoke-on-Trent city council to put on the Horizon Fitness Grand Prix – a professional women’s race – as part of the Halfords Tour Series, and alongside our partners at the City Council, we cannot wait for all the action to start!”.

Ian Van Arkadie, Head of Community Services for Stoke-on-Trent City Council, welcomed the events returning to the city.

He said:

“The city has developed an excellent working relationship with the Tour of Britain, the Tour Series and the Tour Ride.

“Cycling is amongst the fastest growing and most popular participation sports in the UK. The health and other benefits – including those to the environment – cannot be denied and as a Cycling City we are very committed to cycling in all its forms. To have all three events taking place in the city in the centenary year of Stoke-on-Trent is great news and we hope people all over the region embrace these events and play their part.

“These televised events provide the city with a great profile and enable people of all ages to take part and witness eevnts that provide social, health, environmental, sporting and economic impacts for the city and its people.”

To register for The Prostate Cancer Charity Tour Ride please visit www.tourride.couk.