On Sunday 1st September Cheltenham Festival of Cycling saw crowds of spectators take to the streets to witness its first high speed Criterium road race through the centre of town.
The event, organised by Marketing Cheltenham and Cheltenham Borough Council, saw elite cyclists reaching speeds of up to 50mph to win the top prize and take to the podium.
Alongside the elite racing, the event saw hundreds of spectators and families taking part in HSBC’s Let’s Ride, testing out the race circuit before the racers were put through their paces.
Later in the afternoon, local businesses took part in a special corporate relay. Teams of five completed ten laps of the circuit, with Stroud Valley Velo’s A Team coming out on top.
As well as the racing, the festival also included a cycling themed events village, featuring a junior cycle track hosted by British Cycling, a Feva Star Seat exhibition, a Wattbike speed challenge by Suffershire Indoor Cycling and e-bike demonstrations from Williams Cycles and Leisure Lakes Bikes. NM Sports Therapy were also on hand to provide sports massages, with all donations going to No Child Left Behind.
Later in the day, the racing culminated with the final men’s and women’s elite races, with James Phillips from Bikestrong-KTM winning in the men’s category and Mathilde Pauls of 1904 RT taking victory in the women’s. Earlier, the category 3/4 race was won by Joe Twelvetrees from Reflex Racing. In the junior races, Joshua Tarling from Backstedt Cycling took first place in the under 16’s, whilst William Salter of 1st Chard Whls won in the under 14’s with Katie-Anne Calton of Solent Pirates the first placed girl.
Councillor Rowena Hay, cabinet member for finance said: “It was brilliant to see such an incredible turnout for Cheltenham Festival of Cycling on Sunday. From elite racers to spectators soaking up the atmosphere, I believe the event was a real success. There was a real buzz in town, especially around the event village, with busy stalls and plenty of activities to keep all ages entertained. I hope that this event will inspire people to take up cycling, for recreation or for sport, to keep healthy. Our thanks go to all the sponsors and contributors to the event.”
Cheltenham Borough Council walking and cycling champion, Cllr Max Wilkinson, said: “I really enjoyed the event, which had a very positive atmosphere and had opportunities for people of all abilities to take part. Similarly, as we become a more sustainable town it would be great to see more people cycling not just for sport, but for everyday trips too. Shifting journeys within Cheltenham out of cars and onto bike or foot will play a big part in the town’s commitment to carbon neutrality by 2030.”
Jess Goodwin, Events Manager at Marketing Cheltenham added: “The Cheltenham Festival of Cycling was a great example of the sort of event we want to attract and build on in the town. It was particularly great to see so many children and families taking part throughout the day. A huge thank you must go to everyone involved in making the day such a success.”
To find out what other festivals Cheltenham has coming up, visit https://www.visitcheltenham.com/whats-on or the annual Cheltenham festivals programme. For information on any future cycling events please keep an eye here on this website!