Club prepares for the arrival of world’s best cyclists

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STRATFORD Cycling Club will be hands-on at a major international event – and hoping it leads to new two-wheel converts.

The club has been asked to help in the smooth running of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain 2018, when it hits the streets of Warwickshire next month.

The county — and the district — plays host to the fourth stage of the tour, which brings 13 of the 17 tour de France teams with it as well as an estimated 100,000 fans expected to be lining the streets.

The 183km stage will get under way at 11am on Wednesday, 5th September in Nuneaton town centre, finishing at Leamington Spa’s Newbold Terrace, but not before taking in a stretch of country roads looking over Shakespeare’s hometown.

Paul Freeman, secretary of Stratford Cycling Club, said the fact the OVO Women’s Tour had come through the region earlier in the summer had only raised expectations ahead of September.

“We’re obviously thrilled that the OVO Energy Tour of Britain will be coming to Warwickshire this year,” he said.

“It always draws a huge crowd wherever it goes, and I’m sure the locals here will exceed the usual numbers.

“The tour is going to provide a lot young cycling fans the opportunity to be inspired by professionals at the top of their game. Whether they’re getting hooked for the first time or seeing their heroes in action, it will no doubt have a huge impact locally.

“Spectators were out in full force for the women’s tour last month, and it was great to see the prize money beginning to match up with the men’s.

“We’ve seen increased participation across all age-groups at our club and at locally-held sportives over the last few years. And after moving to a new HQ and track, the number of children particularly has seen a steady increase in numbers.

“Our members take their cycling very seriously, so they will be extremely excited for the tour. We run three training sessions every week, as well as bi-weekly races, a national road racing event, and a Sunday social ride that caters for riders of all abilities.

“With all the buzz surrounding the tour, we welcome any new members to the club who get involved as a result.

“We offer safe cycling environments for all ages, making the most of our beautiful countryside and avoiding our main roads, while our new facilities provide a great opportunity to race safely.

“We’ve been asked to assist in the marshalling of the event in September. It’s an honour to be involved in the running of the day, and we’ll be doing everything we can to ensure everyone has a fully enjoyable time.”

For more information, visit Stratford Cycling Club’s website at www.stratfordcyclingclub.co.uk