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.