Organisers of The Tour Series are looking to build on the success of this year’s inaugural season of the city-centre racing format as competition heats up among British and Continental teams for places on the starting line.
Developed by Sweetspot, who also organise the Tour of Britain, the full line-up of participating teams and the venues where they will race is due to be announced next month.
The Series organisers have said that “some of the venues will be familiar to some of the 100,000 plus live-audience that followed The Tour Series in 2009,” although it also promises that “there are new additions to the line-up.”
The 10 towns and cities that hosted races last year were Milton Keynes, Exeter, Woking, Peterborough, Blackpool, Southport, Stoke-on-Trent, Colchester, Chester and Stoke-on-Trent.
One new venue that has already been confirmed is Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, which is hosting a race on 1 June.
Tour Series Technical Director Mick Bennett, who acts in a similar role for the Tour of Britain, is looking forward to next year’s event.
“We had a fantastic Tour Series in 2009,” he says. “After introducing the unique and revolutionary concept of team-based cycle racing to The Series, we saw some of the best racing from this past decade take place on home soil. This year we are looking to bring more of this fantastic racing to our fans and as such we are currently working closely with British Cycling to establish the mid-week racing of The Tour Series within the overall racing calendar and the teams’ schedules so that it does not clash with any other events.”
Bennett continues, “The 2009/10 UK team ‘transfer-market’ has been frenetic, with big-name moves from domestic to continental teams and movement from squad-to-squad across the UK peloton. Next year looks like a year where even more pro teams will enter the ranks. Several new domestic teams have been announced and this will only prove to leave The Tour Series organisers with an even bigger selection job, as the already highly-competitive clambering for the places on The Tour Series will have extra teams looking for one of those berths.”
That interest from professional teams could cause organisers a headache, admints Bennett. “The competition for places on next year’s Tour Series will be furious,” he says. “We have restricted number of spots and realistically there could be 16 or 17 teams all vying for those places. However, no decisions have been made regarding the teams that will contest next year’s Series as of yet. This process is ongoing and the teams will be informed in the coming months as the selection criteria is agreed upon by The Tour Series organisation”.
Next year’s Tour Series begins on the evening of 25th May, although we’ll have to wait until January to find out the venue. As last year, one-hour TV highlights of all races are expected to be shown on ITV4, with the broadcasting contract currently being finalised.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.