A WORLD cyclocross champion is targeting victory is this year's Otley Town Centre Races which will take place next Wednesday.

Nineteen-year-old Tom Pidcock, who is from Otley, is hungry for the win of the elite race at Otley.

Pidcock is double world cyclocross champion (junior and under-23) as well double Paris Roubaix winner (junior and under-23) but he said: “Otley is still one I want to win.”

The race's quality is undeniable, as last year's winner Matt Walls went on to win gold.

Within a month of his 2018 victory, Walls went on to become a European champion followed by winning gold in the men’s omnium at the Track Cycling World Cup in December.

The Otley Town Centre Races remain a prestigious criterium in the British racing calendar, with past winners including Mark Cavendish, Adam Blythe, Jonny Clay, Scott Thwaites and Russ Downing.

Other famous names who have taken part in recent years include Bradley Wiggins, Simon Yates, Ed Clancy, Dame Sarah Storey and Alistair Brownlee.

In 2014, local hero Lizzie Deignan won the women’s race in the same year she became Commonwealth Games road race champion and then went on to become world champion in 2015.

Now in its 34th year, the race on Wednesday, July 3, is set to carry on the long tradition of world class racing in Otley for both men and women by attracting the best riders in the country.

The Pinsent Masons Women’s race is the first ever race in the newly established ‘Women’s Elite Circuit Race Series’ which will attract a talented field of female riders.

As well as the Elite races there is the Chevin Cycles Classic races amateur riders and youth races for aspiring young riders. The evening will start with a fun balance bike race for 3-4 year olds.

This year the races are organised by Sonja Harper, the first female organiser of the event.

She said: “As well as having the usual hugely talented field of riders who bring exciting racing to the streets of Otley, we are bringing the European bike race experience to Yorkshire with our first ever beer tent.

“My personal mission is to make the LOGCO Otley Cycle Races carbon neutral this year. We’re minimising waste and planting trees to compensate for any carbon that we’re responsible for and are currently investigating sites around Otley that might be suitable.

Organisers are also encouraging people to come by bike, and the bike park will be a secure, fenced off area with bike racks situated on the forecourt of the BP garage on Gay Lane.

It will be staffed from 5pm to 10pm, but people will need to bring their own bike locks as the organisers cannot accept liability for any stolen or damaged bikes.

Harper added: “The town centre circuit is 1.3 miles long with plenty of space for the 10,000 expected spectators and there are lots of places to get a great close up view of some fantastic hard fought racing.”

The timetable for this evening is:

5.30pm - Freaks of Nature/Ingear Coaching Balance Bike Race

6pm - MAS Design Super Prestige Youth Race for under-16 boys

6.01pm - WGC Landscapes Super prestige Bike Race for under-16 girls

6.40pm - Chevin Cycles Men’s Classic Race

7.30pm - Pinsent Masons Women’s Otley Grand Prix (Part of the 2019 HSBC UK National Women’s Circuit Series)

8.30pm - The Property Development Group Men’s Otley Grand Prix (Part of the 2019 HSBC UK National Circuit Series)

For further details otleycycleraces.com