Colne set for Grand Prix cycling spectacular

Marsden Building Society chief executive Rob Pheasey and branch manager Chris Doyle with cyclists Ephraim Ashworth (9), Georgia Ashworth (15), Rhiannon Gornall (15) and Hannah Wilson (9).
Marsden Building Society chief executive Rob Pheasey and branch manager Chris Doyle with cyclists Ephraim Ashworth (9), Georgia Ashworth (15), Rhiannon Gornall (15) and Hannah Wilson (9).

Fans flocking to Colne for the town’s annual Grand Prix cycling event on Wednesday will have a trio of races to look forward to.

This year will feature a new race for budding talent and riders and sponsors have been gearing up for the 12th edition of what is Pendle’s premier cycling event which attracts some of the country’s best cyclists.

At 6-30pm, the new Marsden Building Society sponsored “Future Stars Race” for young regional riders will take place followed at 7-15pm by the Fort Vale “Sprint for Success Race” for up and coming riders.

Then between 8-15pm and 9-15pm, the Welcome Cottages Colne Grand Prix race for elite riders, part of Britain’s Elite Men’s Circuit Series, will take centre stage as the professionals complete laps of the testing circuit pushing themselves to the limit.

Look back at Colne Grand Prix of recent years here:

Crowds flock to 2014 event

Cyclists Ian Wilkinson and Paul Oldham with apprentices at Fort Vale who are sponsoring this year's Colne Grand Prix.

Cyclists Ian Wilkinson and Paul Oldham with apprentices at Fort Vale who are sponsoring this year's Colne Grand Prix.

Photo special from the 2013 Colne Grand Prix

{http://www.pendletoday.co.uk/news/local/video-colne-grand-prix-2012-1-4756364 Thousands line streets for Colne 2012 Grand Prix}

Team Raleigh GAC’s Ian Wilkinson from Barnoldswick, who won the Colne Grand Prix in 2008, will lead the team in his home race and is looking forward to the swooping curves and fast sprint sections.

Ian said: “The crowd around the circuit for the Colne Grand Prix has grown every year and it’s one of the best on the whole UK elite circuit series. I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be good!”

The crowd around the circuit for the Colne Grand Prix has grown every year and it’s one of the best on the whole UK elite circuit series

Ian Wilkinson

Fifteen-year-olds Georgia Ashworth, from Trawden, and Rhiannon Gornall, from Barnoldswick, are both looking to dazzle in front of friends and family in the newly introduced race representing Cycle Sport Pendle.

Georgia, who finished second in a recent Otley race, said: “I’m excited and I think it’s a good opportunity as we usually just stand and watch. I’m going to try and do my best in Colne because it’s a big race.

“I’d hope to win, I don’t know how it’s going to happen, but I hope it does. I think all my family’s coming. We all live near by so we are all coming to watch and support and we usually do each year.”

Rhiannon said: “It’s really exciting because there’s loads of people that you know and in front of home crowds is fun.

“(There’s) a lot of adrenaline. They push you on when you’re riding round and cheer for you and if you’re in pain it spurs you on to keep on going.”

The races are being organised by Cycle Sport Pendle, Pendle Council and British Cycling and are supported by Colne Town Council and the races are part of Pendle Cycling Festival 2015, which includes the Tour of Britain in September.

Coun. Mohammed Iqbal, Leader of Pendle Council, said: “It’s our 12th Colne Grand Prix this year and looks set to be the best ever, with three exciting high speed races through Colne’s historic town centre.

“We’re delighted Colne Grand Prix night races are sponsored by local companies.

“All three sponsors - Welcome Cottages, Fort Vale and Marsden Building Society have a great reputation and a passion for cycling.”

Nick Rudge, Managing Director of Welcome Cottages, the headline sponsor of Pendle and Ribble Valley’s hosting of the Tour of Britain Stage Two, said: “We’ve been the headline sponsor of the Colne Grand Prix for the last seven years and are proud to support this exciting race.

“We’ve lots of very keen cyclists at our company and the Colne Grand Prix is one of the highlights of our year. It’s great to be part of its success.”

Rob Pheasey, Chief Executive of Marsden Building Society, said: “We’ve been in Colne for a number of years, we’re Lancashire leading building society, we’ve made a significant investment in Pendle and the Colne cycling event is something we’re very proud to be part of.

“We were approached to take part in a new race this year, future stars, and we’re delighted to accept.

“For us, it’s the family connection. Colleagues are involved with the local cycling club, it’s family orientated which fits our ethos. We’re very privileged to be able to support it.

“The Colne event and what comes next in terms of the Tour of Britain coming through Pendle as well, I think it’s a great year for cycling in Lancashire.”