LIZZIE Armitstead will be going to town this week. The Otley cyclist will be racing against the men in both the inaugural Ilkley town centre race tonight (Tuesday) and the Otley town centre races tomorrow, where the Olympic silver medallist will also be taking part in a women's race.
The Pinsent Mason Otley Women's Grand Prix, which will be preceded by a drum band marching up Bondgate, will not only feature Armitstead, but also 2013 winner Elinor Barker, double Olympic champion Laura Trott and Paralympian Dame Sarah Storey.
Meanwhile, the Men's Grand Prix will be started by five-times Tour de France winner Bernard Hinault and will include Russell Downing and Ed Clancy in an impressive field.
The Grove at Ilkley will be closed from 4.45 tonight, with junior races for under-14s (6.30) and under-16s (7.00) preceding the women's race (7.40) and men's race (8.35), with the prize presentation on The Grove at 9.40pm.
Ilkley Cycling Club are hoping the races, which will all feature over 80 riders, become an annual feature.
Meanwhile, the timetable for Otley tomorrow night start with road closures at 5.30, followed by the Women's Grand Prix at 6.10, an under-16s' race at 6.55pm, followed by the Chevin Cycles Classic race at 7.30, followed by the Property Development Grand Prix at 8.30, with the presentations an hour later.
Armitstead is guaranteed good support in both towns, with Otley expecting record crowds, and appetite for cycling in the area can be seen by up to 1,000 riders taking part in the White Rose Classic last Sunday over sections of the Yorkshire countryside that will be used for the Tour de France this weekend.
Coming so soon before the Grand Depart, it is expected that several overseas riders and many overseas spectators will be present at Ilkley
They include Mathew Street and Robert Constantino (Foundation Cycling New York City) from the United SDtates, plus Nathan Fox from Australia, while Isle of Man brothers William and Nathan Draper will ride in the under-14s and junior races respectively.