Edinburgh, Barrow and Gorey on Jersey, which hosts the finale with both a circuit race and a hill climb, are the three new venues announced for the 2014 Pearl Izumi Tour Series. The criterium series is returning for a sixth season, spanning five weeks over May and June – and once again it will be broadcast on ITV4.
As we reported last week, Edinburgh is staging the race with the apparent ambition that it can be a stepping-stone to hosting the Grand Depart of the Tour de France.
Meanwhile, one of the returning venues, Aberystwyth, hopes that welcoming the race back can kick-start its tourism season and help it recover from the recent storms.
The competition will get under way on Tuesday 13 May in Stoke-on-Trent, where there will be a team time trial as well as the usual criterium, and the other venues are Peterborough, Durham, Redditch, Canary Wharf and Woking.
The final round will be the first ever held outside Great Britain, taking place at Gorey on the Channel Island of Jersey and besides a circuit race will also have a hill climb above the town’s picturesque harbour.
Pearl Izumi Tour Series race director Mick Bennett said: "This year's Series has an outstanding list of venues, including rounds in the capital cities of both England and Scotland.
"We have a great variety of venues and circuits which will test the teams and their tactics and ensure that whoever is crowned Champions on Jersey is rightfully the best British team of 2014.”
The Scottish capital isn't the first location north of the border to welcome the competition - previously, it's been staged in Kirkcaldy - and Event Scotland's chief operating oficer, Paul Bush, said: “The Pearl Izumi Tour Series is an exciting, unique concept for city centre road racing, and Edinburgh will undoubtedly provide an ideal backdrop for the action.
"Scotland is the perfect stage for events and we are delighted to once again be hosting a round of the series, which will showcase cycling to a large audience in our capital city.
"Edinburgh is an ideal city to hold a major bike race, and the sight of the teams racing through the city centre will certainly be a sight to behold.”
The venues were announced at today’s Ice Bike trade show, which showcases brands distributed in the UK by Madison – Pearl Izumi being one of them.
Madison has also confirmed that the brand will continue to sponsor the Pearl Izumi Tour Series for the next three years.
Team Halfords Bikehut won the first edition of the team-based competition five years ago. Motorpoint Marshalls Pasta won in 2010, Rapha Condor Sharp in 2011 and Endura Racing in 2012, while Team UK Youth are the current champions.
The Pearl Izumi Tour Series 2014
Round 1 Tue 13 May Stoke-on-Trent (includes Team Time Trial) Round 2 Thu 15 May Barrow Round 3 Tue 20 May Peterborough Round 4 Fri 23 May Aberystwyth Round 5 Tue 27 May Durham Round 6 Thu 29 May Edinburgh Round 7 Tue 3 June Redditch Round 8 Thu 5 June Canary Wharf Round 9 Tue 10 June Woking Round 10 Fri 13 June Gorey, Jersey (includes Hill Climb)
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.