WORCESTER is on the starting line to welcome one of the world’s most popular cycle races back to the city.
Olympic hero Bradley Wiggins and last year’s Tour de France winner Chris Froome are among cyclists under starter’s orders for the Tour of Britain race, with a stage set to take place in the Faithful City.
The announcement of international cycling’s return, made by Worcester City Council, is part of four major announcements aimed at raising the profile of the city.
Other events unveiled include nationally important athletics and wheelchair basketball shows, as well as an historic military parade to mark the centenary of the First World War.
The programme, funded with £195,000 of taxpayers’ cash, is expected to provide a major shot in the arm for tourism and catapult Worcester onto the international stage.
The 11th annual Tour of Britain will come to Worcester on Wednesday, September 10 and Thursday, September 11.
And the return of racing was welcomed by Worcester Cycle Centre owner, Stuart Summer.
“It will bring people into Worcester and increase the profile of cycling,” he said.
“Last time it came to Worcester it was really popular.
“People were lining the streets to see it passing by and I expect there will be even more this time.
“Cycling has grown quite a lot over the past five or six years and things like the Olympics and the Tour of Britain have really helped with that.”
Formerly known as the Milk Race, the Kellogg’s Tour and the PruTour, the event did not run between 1999 and 2004. In 1999, police motorcyclist David Hopkins was killed after colliding with a car while escorting riders in Newland, near Malvern.
On Saturday, August 16, the 214 Battery Royal Artillery 150th anniversary parade will take place, exercising its freedom of the city to stage a regimental parade followed by an event at Pitchcroft.
And on Sunday, September 21, the Worcester City 10KM, City Bike Run and Worcester City Young Athletes Run will launch, before the European Wheelchair Basketball Championships at the Worcester Arena in 2015.
The city council’s Labour-led cabinet is meeting next week to finalise the spending package and Councillor Adrian Gregson, city council leader, said: “These events will put Worcester on the map in the most spectacular of ways, turning the national spotlight on to our great city.
“They will be fantastic, memorable days out for all the family and, I hope, the inspiration for our residents to try their hand at new sports.
“The cabinet is not just being asked to invest in this programme of events but also in our local economy, as these are all opportunities to bring more people into the city to spend more time and money.”