Vélo Birmingham, which saw 15,000 cyclists take to the roads of the West Midlands and neighbouring counties last September, will not return this year with organisers saying that the next edition will take place in spring 2019 on a new route.
The inaugural edition of the event, which claims to be the second biggest closed road sportive in the UK after the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100, was well supported on the day by tens of thousands of people living on the route.
Covering 100 miles, the sportive, which started and finished in Birmingham, also took in roads in Worcestershire and Staffordshire.
However, a small number of opponents of the event including local business owners on the proposed route forced organisers CSM Active to change the planned course several times.
On the day itself there were reports of oil being deliberately spilt on the road as well as tacks spread to cause riders to puncture.
> Vélo Birmingham saboteurs fail to spoil day for riders and locals
By moving the event to the spring, organisers say that participants will benefit from more hours of daylight.
They also promise that “an exciting new route under development will provide the capacity and infrastructure needed to enable the event to fulfil its long-term potential as one of the UK’s biggest participation events.”
Leader of Birmingham City Council, Councillor Ian Ward, commented: “We’re excited to welcome Vélo Birmingham back to the City in the Spring of 2019. The 2017 event was a huge success for Birmingham and is an important part of the City’s cycling strategy.
“The benefits of major events are well known and our cycling strategy is clear - we want to get the Midlands cycling and we plan for Vélo Birmingham to become a key legacy project as we build towards the 2022 Commonwealth Games.”
CSM Active’s chairman, Jon Ridgeon, said: “Whilst the inaugural Vélo Birmingham was a huge success, it was clear to us that some changes would be necessary if the event was to reach its long-term potential.
“Together with our partners Birmingham City Council, we are determined to ensure that this wonderful event continues to develop and evolve, becoming not just bigger and better but also more inclusive and appealing to as wide an audience as possible.”
He added: “The move from September to the Spring along with the new route will provide us with a fantastic, sustainable long-term platform from which to grow in years to come and we can’t wait to return with an even more spectacular event in 2019.”
Yep, and the EOT will have gone too.
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