Less than four months after the organisers of the Cyclone Festival of Cycling warned that this year’s 13th edition of the event in Northumberland may be the last due to funding issues, it has been confirmed that in June it will play host to the 2018 British Cycling National Road Championships.
As a result, the event will stretch to four days rather than the current three, with the time trials taking place on Thursday 28 June, and the road races on Sunday 1 July incorporating the long-established Curlew Cup and Beaumont Trophy for men and women respectively.
The festival hosted the National Road Championships in 2011 – before British Cycling changed the event to include the time trials, too – with Lizzie Armitstead (now Deignan) winning the women’s race, and Bradley Wiggins triumphing in the men’s version.
By including the elite events, the festival will move from its previously scheduled slot of 15-17 June. The Tyne 6 Bridges Fun Rides will now take place on Friday 29 June and the Cyclone Challenge Rides, taking in routes of 34, 64, 90 and 106 miles, on Saturday 30 June.
Peter Harrison, the festival’s organiser, said: "It's exciting news that the Cyclone Festival of Cycling will hosting the National Championships again.
“With family rides, a four-route sportive and national championships in both road racing and time trials, this year's Cyclone will be a four-day festival and it looks set to be our best yet, with something for everyone, whether they want to ride, race or spectate."
By hosting the National Championships, the festival will enjoy a high media profile this year, including on television, which will hopefully boost Harrison’s efforts to find a replacement sponsor for Virgin Money, which ended its backing in 2016.
British Cycling’s director of cycling, Jonny Clay, added: “We are thrilled to be heading to the north east for the biggest date in the British road racing calendar.
"There is a great passion for cycling with thousands of people turning out to watch whenever there are cycling races in the area.
"Hosted in partnership with the Cyclone Festival of Cycling, there is something for all fans of cycling, whether you want to watch the racing or take part in a sportive.”
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.