Eight-race series gets curtain-raiser in the North East, then heads to Aberystwyth on Thursday

The Halfords Tour Series is back for its third edition, taking top-level criterium racing to towns and cities across England and, for the first time this year, Wales, with Aberystwyth hosting Round 2 this Thursday. Tonight, though, it will be Durham, that stages the curtain-raiser to the series, which last year saw Motorpoint beat off strong competition from Rapha-Condor-Sharp and Endura Racing to be crowned champions.

Mick Bennett, Technical Director of The Halfords Tour Series said: "Durham proved to be one of the iconic rounds of the 2010 Halfords Tour Series, and it will certainly start this year's series in the most spectacular way."

"Any team who wants to win this year's Halfords Tour Series will have to be on top of their game from the off. The pressure is really on the teams this year, as one poor round could damage their chances of pulling on the five Halfords orange leader's jerseys.

"This means spectators coming to Durham, or any of the other seven rounds can expect exciting racing right from the off, so I'd urge people to come along to their local round, and experience just what The Halfords Tour Series is all about."

Details of the circuit, parking and public transport options and the supporting programme can be found on the Tour Series website, which also has similar information for the other races in the series.

Highlights of tonight’s round will be shown on ITV4 at 8pm tomorrow night and repeated on Thursday at 11am. Subsequent rounds will take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the rest of May and into June. The rounds at Peterborough, Stoke, Oldham and Woking also feature supporting races in the new Johnson Health Tech Women's Grand Prix Series.

Halfords Tour Series 2011

Round One Tuesday 24th May Durham
Round Two Thursday 26th May Aberystwyth
Round Three Tuesday 31st May Peterborough
Round Four Thursday 2nd June Colchester
Round Five Tuesday 7th June Stoke-on-Trent
Round Six Thursday 9th June Oldham
Round Seven Tuesday 14th June Woking
Round Eight Thursday 16th June Canary Wharf

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.