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Team Sky’s Luke Rowe expresses support for much-criticised Velothon Wales

Meanwhile, Monmouth MP David Davies accuses the organisers of lying to people

Team Sky’s Luke Rowe has voiced his support for Velothon Wales, the 140km sportive and professional race which has been drawing great ire from a number of those affected by road closures. Cardiff-born Rowe says that this weekend’s event will be supported by the vast majority of people and could help inspire the next Welsh superstar.

A number of local traders have complained about the impact of road closures on their businesses, but Rowe told Wales Online that they should try and look at the bigger picture.

“You are always going to get a small percentage who whinge and who are negative, but I think 99.9 per cent of people will love to see it, will embrace it and will get out there. They don’t realise how much these events will bring into the local economy. The money the Tour de France brings in for little villages – they all make a killing.”

Rowe says that closed roads are a key aspect of the event, as most amateur riders never get to experience such a thing and he says his only regret is not being able to take part himself as he is currently in France riding the Dauphiné Libéré. “The only other time I get to race in Wales is on the odd year the national championships come and it’s something I love, racing in front of friends and family.”

He describes Welsh cycling as being at ‘an absolute peak at the moment’ but doesn’t see why the sport shouldn’t strive for more. 15,000 amateur riders will take part in the Velothon. “One of these kids could be the next Welsh superstar,” he says.

The latest person to criticise the event is Monmouth MP David Davies. Speaking on BBC Radio Wales' Jason Mohammad programme on Wednesday, he accused the organisers of lying to people. "The arrogance of this organisation – they're telling lies to people. They told me that all MPs support it, and that was a lie. They back-tracked when they found out that I was an MP.”

Davies went on to claim that the organisers told him they had consulted with MPs in April, even though all MPs had at that time become candidates ahead of the general election.

As much as anything, the issue appears to be one of communication. Carwyn Jones, First Minister of Wales, said that the organisers should have communicated information relating to road closures sooner.

In a statement, the director of Velothon Wales, Andrew Taylor, said there had been a "programme of engagement" with those affected by the sportive and race.

"This has included a dedicated team and helpline who are doing their best to provide clear and full information to the people who need it and of course have never intended to mislead anyone.

"The route for Velothon Wales was chosen in consultation with local authorities. We do understand that some of the road closures can cause disruption but unfortunately they are unavoidable and are part and parcel of a closed-road event of this scale."

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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