Thousands of enthusiastic cycling fans will line the iconic streets of Edinburgh’s old town on Thursday 19 May 2016 when round three of The Pearl Izumi Tour Series, the UK’s leading city centre team cycle race series is staged in the capital. The main race will start at 19.30 with support races and an open hill climb time trial starting at 16.00. All races are free to spectate.
Spectators will be looking to get the best vantage points as six of the UK’s top professional cycling teams (of five riders each) race around a challenging closed-road circuit in the heart of the capital.
The teams, who include defending Champions Madison Genesis, JLT Condor presented by Mavic, NFTO, Pedal Heaven, Team Raleigh GAC and Team WIGGINS, will travel to Edinburgh fresh from racing in Motherwell, home to round two of the series on Tuesday 17 May. It the first time the unique team based televised event has held a pair of rounds in Scotland
JLT Condor presented by Mavic extended their lead in the Pearl Izumi Tour Series to make it three victories from three races (two rounds) in 2016, with Jon Mould's individual win in Motherwell helping secure the maximum 10-points.
Evan Oliphant from Team Raleigh GAC, who are lying third in the overall team classification after round two in Motherwell, who is from Tranent in East Lothian, said: “It's fantastic to have the opportunity to have a top race on my doorstep and I'm looking forward to getting stuck in in front of friends and family.”
Edinburgh’s fast, furious and tactical race will be staged on a new and extremely challenging 1.6-kilometre circuit that includes cobbles, a gruelling hill climb and hairpin bends The 500 metre cobbled climb up Victoria Street, which was used when the series last came to the city in 2014, will again form the centre piece of the race. In 2016 the riders will turn left at the top of the street to take in the Lawnmarket and a fast downhill section on Johnston Terrace below Edinburgh Castle, before returning to the Grassmarket via West Port.
Mick Bennett, The Pearl Izumi Tour Series Race Director, said: “The new Edinburgh circuit is going to make the racing even better, for the riders and for spectators. We’ve retained the spectacular Victoria Street climb, which for me is one of the most iconic locations in the Tour Series, and now will also be racing in the shadow of the famous Castle. It’s a hard circuit and will make for a great race.”
The teams will tear round the circuit for a lung busting and energy sapping 60 minutes and five laps, offering some close, tactical and very spectator friendly racing. The overall winner and the team with the lowest cumulative times will be crowned the Edinburgh Champions at a podium ceremony immediately following the end of the race. Series leaders, both team and individual will also be announced.
Jack Pullar from the Pedal Heaven team, a former British National Hill Climb Champion who represented Scotland at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, said “Edinburgh is my favourite city in the whole of the UK. I’ve had a lot of good memories there, so it’s going to be a special race for me. I think with the new course it’s going to be even better than last time, because you take in even more of the sights, like the Castle. We were third team In Motherwell and we’re moving back-up, so I think it’s upwards from here. As a team we should suit Edinburgh, so we’re targeting a good result.”
Edinburgh’s Festival and Events Champion, Councillor Richard Lewis, said: “Winding through the hilly, cobbled streets of the Grassmarket in full view of Edinburgh Castle, this has to be one of the most visually stunning legs of the Pearl Izumi series. Make sure you get there early to secure the best view and to cheer on the riders as they go head to head.
“Cycling really is on the rise in the Capital with more than 16.5 million cycle trips now being made annually in the city. As a compact, densely populated and beautiful city, Edinburgh is suited perfectly to travel by bike and high profile events like the Pearl Izumi help to promote cycling and sport in the city.”
The free to attend, action packed event, centred around the Grassmarket, Edinburgh Castle and West Bow, is brought to Edinburgh by Sweetspot, EventScotland and the City of Edinburgh Council.
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “We are delighted to support Tour Series in 2016 and are excited about the prospect of seeing some of the UK’s finest talent battling it out through the streets of Edinburgh following a highly successful Motherwell stage yesterday.
“The number of cyclists in the capital and across the country is on the rise and events, such as Tour Series, have an important part to play in this, encouraging people to participate in a sport that is not only terrific fun but also provides a great means of transport.”
In addition to the main race Edinburgh will also host a corporate Pro-Am relay, sponsored by Brother UK, and other support events including an open hill climb up Victoria Street and an amateur club race that will give aspiring local club riders the chance to race on the same course as the pro-teams. The support events begin with the The Grassmarket Scramble at 16.00 with the main event of the evening being staged at 19.30.
There will be a small promo event village in the Grassmarket with leading cycle brands, cycling organisations and cycling events exhibiting.
Highlights of the Edinburgh event will be shown on ITV4 on the evening of Friday 20 May and will be available via catch-up services with the ITV Player.