Thousands of people will have the opportunity to get close to the action as the heart of Cheltenham is transformed into a cycle track for the whole community.

For the first time, Cheltenham Festival of Cycling – returning after a successful event in May – will feature a criterium race which consists of several laps around a closed road circuit. This adrenaline fuelled road race will see competitors complete as many laps as possible of a 1.3km loop through Bayshill and Montpellier.

Image taken during OVO Energy Tour of Britain during the stage seven finish in Cheltenham Town Centre. Copyright Alex Whitehead.

The event, which takes place on Sunday 1 September, includes youth, amateur, corporate and elite categories.

Cheltenham Festival of Cycling will also be giving the opportunity for everyone – no matter what age or ability – to get involved and the local community is being urged to take part in the HSBC UK Let’s Ride event – a traffic-free, family friendly course running from 11am-12pm.

Image copyright – Simon Wilkinson who captured the winning shot during Tour of Britain in Cheltenham.

Ruth Miller, lead Cycling Delivery Manager at British Cycling said: “We’re delighted that the Festival will host a mass participation ride as part of the HSBC UK Let’s Ride family of events across the country, as well as a series of town centre criterium races. It’s fantastic that local people have the opportunity to ride on traffic-free streets or watch and be inspired by some quality racing skills on display from young rides through to senior races.”

As well as the criterium race, there will be an event village within Montpellier Gardens which will host local cycling clubs, coaching skills on a children’s track and the national cycling team cars. There will be plenty for spectators to get involved in.

The event opens at 11am and finishes at 8.30pm after the elite winners take to the podium.

Councillor Rowena Hay, Cabinet Member for Finance said: ‘’I am delighted that once again, our very own Festival of Cycling returns to Cheltenham, with something on offer for everyone. It’s really great to see how businesses, residents, visitors, community groups and families of all ages come together to celebrate cycling. This will be an energetic, fun and inspiring way to round off the summer holidays.’’

Most activities are free of charge and some will require advance booking – visit for more information.

Cheltenham cycling festival returns with an exciting difference