Tour Series city centre crits announced for May '09
Races slated for Darlington, Derby, Exeter, Milton Keynes, Southport, Stoke-on-Trent, Woking, and York
Televised city centre crit racing will be back in the UK next year with the a new 10 race Tour Series. The races will happen every tuesday and thursday evening over five weeks starting in late May. Among the cities currently in line to host a round of the Tour Series are Darlington, Derby, Exeter, Milton Keynes, Southport, Stoke-on-Trent, Woking and York. A final line-up will be announced “in due course” say the organisers. One of the central purposes of the Series it to promote cycling, and, like on the Tour of Britain (the organisers of which are behind this) the main races will be preceded by a day of cycling and cycling related activities in each venue, including youth and amateur races, demonstrations and skills sessions. All the races will be free to attend – and the organisers promise “a carnival atmosphere with music and entertainment catering for families and children”. Most of the venues that make it on to the final list are likely to be Cycling England demonstration towns or cities. We've got our fingers crossed that Bristol will feature, and a London event is pretty much guaranteed. In a bid for maximum viewer appeal the Tour Series will be about open, fast-paced racing with plenty of excitement from the word go. There will be sprint prizes and prizes for the fastest lap, but what sets the Tour Series apart is that it will be a team-based contest, so the fastest lap award will be to the team with the fastest collective lap rather than the fastest rider, likewise the emphasis will be on the winning team rather than the first rider across the line. All the riders in a Series-leading team will get to wear the leader's jersey. Circuits will be between 1-1.5Km long and will seek to incorporate local landmarks and reflect the topography and terrain of the town or city hosting each round – so cobbled sections, short, sharp hills, twists and turns could all figure. How it will work • The event is Team based, rather than focussing on individual performance, with 10 teams of 5 riders fighting it out for team honours and an end of season leader board. • The Tour Series will be contested by the top British professional teams, with special guest stars appearing at each round of the series. • There will be a Leader’s Jersey and Sprints Jersey competition, as well as an award for the fastest lap of the night. All awards will be made to the team with the fastest 3 riders ‘past the post’, with all team members wearing the Leader’s Jersey at the following round. • Teams will be able to change their line-up from event-to-event, substituting injured or unavailable riders throughout The Tour Series, without affecting the team’s overall Series position. SweetSpot, the company putting together the event are talking to both a major terrestrial and a satellite broadcaster about televising each round of the series – details will be announced when a deal has been struck and a spokesman for SweetSpot was adamant that a television deal would be worked out. ITV4 has been the leading terrestrial broadcaster of road racing in recent years with both the Tour de France and the Tour of Britain and Sky have recently announced a major sponsorship of British Cycling, so they are the names likely to be in the frame.