Sir Bradley Wiggins’s annual “Ride with Brad” sportive has been cancelled for 2014 as the British cyclist could not commit to its August date.
Organiser Pennine Events confirmed that Wiggo had agreed to withdraw this year’s event from his programme due to his racing schedule.
Sir Brad, who was peerless in his Tour of California win in May, is gunning for a Tour de France spot with the Sky team for the world’s biggest cycling race which starts in Yorkshire next month.
Hundreds of cyclists from across the country and abroad have ridden alongside Wiggins at 2012 and 2013’s sportives on some of his favourite training routes, starting and finishing at Barnoldswick’s Victory Park on both occasions.
But the roads in Pendle and the Ribble Valley are now set to be a little quieter this August 17th. In a newsletter, a Pennine Events statement read: “In consultation with Bradley and his management team we have agreed that due to the importance and demands of his racing schedule for this summer it is better to postpone the event.” However, the Preston-based company, with its director Mark Sandamas from Barnoldswick, said although there would not be a 2014 ride, the cycle event specialists were hopeful of a sportive in 2015.
Richard Milner, from Barnoldswick’s Chamber of Trade said: “From a trade point of view, I don’t think it will matter because it is held on a Sunday and not many shops in the town are open.
“But I think it’s a shame as it has brought visitors into Barnoldswick and helped put the town on the map.”
Coun. Ken Hartley, chairman of Barnoldswick Town Council, said: “It’s disappointing news. However, I personally respect that professional athletes have to guard their health for events in which they are taking part in.
“We would be anxious to help where we could if he wants to resurrect it in future years.”
Should the event return, Mr Milner believes more could be done such as promotion in the town square ahead of the sportive or even include more of the town in the ride route.
Peter Boast, Club Development Officer at Cycle Sport Pendle, thinks the disappointment of the event’s cancellation has been offset by the opening of the Steven Burke Sports Hub at Swinden Playing Fields.
Mr Boast said: “We have had a presence at the event in the last two years and the first one was massive coming after the London Olympics and Tour de France, of course.
“But the upcoming official opening of the Steven Burke Sports Hub and activities on June 28th has been the big focus for us this year, so I think that is a huge positive and negates the loss of the ride.”