First Staffordshire Cycling Festival starts tomorrow, continues Saturday
Top class field lined up for Stafford GP in town centre on Friday evening before action switches to Shugborough Hall on Saturday

Shugborough Hall will this weekend provide a stately backdrop to the second day of the inaugural Staffordshire Cycling Festival, with the action starting on the streets of the county town on Friday evening with the fourth edition of the HMT Stafford GP.

Double Olympic team pursuit champion Ed Clancy of Rapha Condor JLT is one of the riders signed up to race the criterium, and once the action transfers to the grounds of the stately home on Saturday, he’ll also be among the riders taking part in the first ever HMT Shugborough Kermesse in the evening. His fellow Olympic gold medallist, Joanna Rowsell had also been due to race too but following her very nasty crash during the women's race at last weekend's Ride London event she has been ruled out with a broken collarbone.

That event starts at 6.15pm, with road closures – and no access to the Shugborough Estate – in place by 5.30pm.

Ahead of that, hundreds of amateur riders will have ridden another new event, the Staffordshire Goes Pedalling sportive, with route options of 35 and 70 miles; entries already full for both.

There’s also a Festival Fringe, with events in Stafford on Friday running till 4.30pm, when the racing starts, and at Shugborough Hall all day on Saturday – the latter including KMX tracks, described as “pedal powered cart racing”, basically they're three-wheeled recumbent trikes and very good fun to ride.

Friday’s racing programme in Stafford is:

4.30pm Town Centre Partnership Business Challenge
5.15pm Stafford Borough Council Hand Cycling
6.20pm Lewis Partnership Women's GP
8.00pm HMT Stafford GP

While last weekend’s first edition of Prudential RideLondon may have grabbed all the attention, the Staffordshire Cycling Festival is one of many smaller such events we’re noticing that demonstrate the growing interest in all things bike-related throughout the UK.

You can find full details of the weekend’s events on the festival website.

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.