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Course in St Giles' is overlooked by several colleges and libraries ...

The Tour Series will not return to one of England’s most historic cities this year after the University of Oxford objected to a repetition of last May’s debut event because it clashes with the year-end exams period.

Last year’s race, won by Scott Thwaites of Endura Racing, took place on an out and back circuit on the wide street, St Giles’, which is flanked by the buildings of several colleges including St John’s and Balliol, and is also overlooked by a number of libraries.

Uniquely, the circuit afforded many of the large number of fans who attended and particularly those who managed to secure some kind of vantage point the opportunity to see the entire course.

However, it’s likely the loudness of the PA announcements and accompanying music would have been disturbing for some trying to get on with their revision.

It is believed that Oxfordshire County Council was keen to repeat the event and even inquired whether it was possible to move it to another time of the year.

However, with the competition taking place in May and June, that was not an option, nor was holding it anywhere else in the city centre, where similar problems would arise.

Peter Hodges from SweetSpot told the Oxford Mail: “Unfortunately I believe Oxford had to withdraw from the event because of its timing during May and June and the impact and disruption this was judged to have had on the university during the exam period.

“We are really disappointed, as I’m sure many cycling fans are, to not be back in Oxford.

“It was a great success last year and our experience with the Tour Series is you really need two or three years at a venue to make the event a real fixture and success, so I am sure it would have been even better.”

Dennis McSweeney from the Oxonian Cycling Club expressed his disappointment the event would not be returning.

“It gives people the chance to go and watch fast racing action,” he reflected. It’s not the sort of thing you would see unless you went to see the Tour of Britain or Tour de France.”

Oxonian CC had a stall at last year’s race, and he added: “We had quite a lot of comments that people were enjoying it and since we have had people say how they are looking forward to this year.”

Supporting races at the 2012 event included one in which students from the University of Oxford took on their rivals from Cambridge, and reacting to the news there would be no Tour Series this year, Hannah McKay, president of the Oxford University Sports Federation, commented: “We do think it’s a shame that the event will not run this year.

“However,” she added, “as an organisation whose responsibility is to contribute towards the overall student experience, we completely understand that since May falls in the middle of the exam period, keeping disruption to a minimum at this important time is paramount for colleges and the university.”

The confirmed dates for this year's Tour Series are:

Round 1   Tuesday 14th May     Kirkcaldy
Round 2   Thursday 16th May    Durham
Round 3   Tuesday 21st May     Stoke-on-Trent
Round 4   Friday 24th May      Aberystwyth
Round 5   Tuesday 28th May     Torquay
Round 6   Tuesday 30th May     Colchester
Round 7   Tuesday 4th June     Redditch
Round 8   Thursday 6th June    Canary Wharf
Round 9   Tuesday 11th June    Woking
Round 10  Thursday 13th June   Aylsham
Round 11  Friday 14th June     Ipswich

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.

8 comments

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_Tim_ [15 posts] 3 years ago
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Rubbish.
We put up with a sgnificant amount of noise from may balls, and weeknight partying yet a non-academic event gets canned bacause for a couple of hours in the afternoon their is some noise.

Double standards from the academics.

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Mrdowen [43 posts] 3 years ago
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Is it only Oxford that has students in May and June? I'm sure some of the other tour series towns and cities have students  39

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MattT53 [146 posts] 3 years ago
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Yep, absolute rubbish. It's a day time event overlooked by very few college libraries. It was also a great event for the uni cycling club last year so this is a frankly pathetic decision. Can't see how this would cause any disruption to anyone studying. Was looking forward to going to watch this as a break from studies ....

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Mrdowen [43 posts] 3 years ago
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NIMBYs. They've done this before. They've banished the boat race to London.  4

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Alan Tullett [1568 posts] 3 years ago
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Colleges in Cambridge don't care about the disruption their May Balls (held in June by the way) have on 'A' level students! Usual elitist crap!

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PJ McNally [591 posts] 3 years ago
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As an Oxford graduate, I loved it. Went to the race, then straight to a night shift in the hospital. Energy levels were great that night!

I've been through Oxford exams, and had countless interruptions. Gas works, May balls, the lot. We coped.

Most Oxford students have at least 2 alternative places to work - eg the departmental library and the main university library ( RSL or Bodleian depending on whether you're in science or arts). This is NIMBYism, nothing else.

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fatbeggaronabike [807 posts] 3 years ago
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What sort of students are turning out there? that they can't answer questions on a subject that they have supposedly been studying for at least a year whilst outside the room there is some noise going on  19

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KNOWNOTHINGBOZO [13 posts] 3 years ago
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Come on folks, it takes a lot of hard work to study to be a waiter or to become unemployed. Give them some peace and quiet! Seriously though, it's a sad day when the needs of one group of people on one afternoon on one day, outweigh everyone else's. Sound like the council needs to grow a pair, adopt rule 5 and issue some earplugs to those who want to study.