Ilkley hopes to follow Otley by having major cycle event days before Grand Depart

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The Otley cycling event The Otley cycling event

Ilkley is to get its own nationally-recognised town centre cycle races to be held only days before the Tour de France this summer.

Ilkley Cycling Club is holding the evening of town centres cycle races on Tuesday, July 1 – 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 atmosphere that Ilkley Parish Council, Ilkley Business Forum and other partners are aiming to create to realise the 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 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 successful and Otley town centre races, which provide great sporting drama.

Professional cyclists Lizzie Armitstead, of Otley, and Scott Thwaites, of Burley-in-Wharfedale, cut their teeth at the Otley races.

Ilkley Cycling Club says holding town centre races in Ilkley gives riders another chance to race in front of a home crowd – and may inspire them to emulate their illustrious neighbours.

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 receive a letter explaining road closures, access arrangements and 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 at organiser@ilkleycycleraces.co.uk.

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