Sheffield gears up for major pro cycling event

Sheffield is to play host to world class cycle racing in just over two weeks, when the Claremont Sheffield Grand Prix returns to the city centre.

Following a successful debut event last year, the major professional cycling event will return on July 24, once again with the support of Claremont Private Hospital.

It is the final round of the British Cycling Elite Circuit Race Series and will also incorporate the Browns British Cycling Women’s National Road Race Series.

The Claremont Sheffield Grand Prix will bring world class cycling to the city centre for the watching public, ahead of next year’s Tour de France route which will feature Yorkshire.

New for 2013 is the addition of a race village positioned at the top of Fargate with trade stands and food outlets offering refreshments throughout the day.

Local rider and 2012 winner Graham Briggs and Rotherham’s Dean Downing – a professional cyclist with the Madison Genesis team – will take to the streets of Sheffield, along with scores of other elite level cyclists from all the top domestic professional teams including Raleigh, UK Youth, Team IG Sigma Sport and Node-4 Giodana.

As well as the Grand Prix event, Claremont Hospital also sponsors the Rapha Condor JLT pro cycling team.

Claremont Hospital Director Andy Davey said:

“The evening will be full of action-packed cycle racing and is sure to provide a great night’s entertainment both for the family and cycling fans.

“It is great timing, too, given that Sheffield CycleBoost has recently launched a new campaign aiming to get 1,000 extra people to take to two wheels in the city this year.

“Cycling is becoming an increasingly popular hobby in Sheffield with the group saying the number of cyclists has doubled in recent years, so we’re hoping for a great turnout on the night.”

The Claremont Sheffield Grand Prix is run by the organisational team of Sheffrec Cycling Club headed by Marc Etches and Mark Barry.

Event organiser Marc Etches said:

“This event is one of Dean Downing’s targets for 2013 and he would dearly love to win in front of his home crowd.

“The women’s race – which last year was won by double Ladies World Junior Champion Lucy Garner – will also be hotly contested with all the major teams coming to Sheffield City Centre.

“Local rider Jessie Walker will feature as will her team of Matrix Fitness Race Academy riders and they will be up against stiff competition from the Breast Cancer Care Cycling Team which includes Dame Sarah Storey as well as Sheffield rider Penny Rowson.”

Last year’s Claremont Sheffield Grand Prix attracted 6,000 spectators on the night, with nearly five million TV viewers watching the event on Sky Sports.

The professional riders will race around the circuit for approximately an hour, with each lap just over 1.4km.

Live commentary for the 2013 Claremont Sheffield Grand Prix will start at 6.30pm, ahead of the women’s race at 7pm. The men’s race will start at 8.30pm, with final presentations for both races after 9.30pm.

Local bar and restaurant Browns is sponsoring the women’s race. Support from other local businesses includes Harrison Cameras, BikeBox Alan, Langsett Cycles, Acorn Industrial Services Limited, Onimpex/Bioracer, Bickerton Skoda and Sheffield City Council.

The route

The riders will travel anticlockwise around the course, beginning on Pinstone Street, turning left onto Furnival Gate and down to the roundabout, before sweeping left on Arundel Gate. Riders will turn left at the Crucible Theatre and make their way up Norfolk Street, riding on the cobbled section before turning right onto Surrey Street and completing one full lap. The finish area will be on Pinstone Street.

Competitors in last year’s Claremont Hospital-sponsored cycle race. Picture by Jerry Lampson

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