Thousands expected in Colne for cycling Grand Prix

Caroline Collinger from Country Cottages 4you, Ian Wilkinson, Executive Director for Regeneration Brian Cookson and Paul Oldham get ready for the Colne Grand Prix. A050611/1b
Caroline Collinger from Country Cottages 4you, Ian Wilkinson, Executive Director for Regeneration Brian Cookson and Paul Oldham get ready for the Colne Grand Prix. A050611/1b

PENDLE people can experience the thrills and spills of street racing at the Colne Grand Prix on Wednesday.

Olympic and world champions will be battling it out on an 800-metre street circuit through our historic market town from 8 p.m.

Now in its eighth year, Colne Grand Prix is an annual fixture in the town’s events calendar and it attracts some of the country’s best cyclists.

The race, which is part of Britain’s Elite Men’s Circuit Series, is held over 60 laps around the town centre.

Pendle Council’s director of regeneration, Mr Brian Cookson, who is also president of British Cycling, is gearing up for the event. He said: “Some of these riders could be representing Britain in the 2012 Olympics and you’re seeing them here first! 2011 is the selection year so there’s a lot at stake and the tension’s rising.”

On the fun side, for the first time, there will also be an entertaining chopper bike dash with a Le Mans-style start at 6.45 p.m. Local enthusiasts will race to mount their retro bikes and do two high speed laps – all in aid of Leukaemia and Lymphoma Trust and Cycle Sport Pendle.

But you don’t have to be an elite rider to enjoy cycling in Pendle. All through the summer until September the council is running free and easy guided rides for beginners and families, run by local cycling clubs.

You don’t even need a bike for some of these rides – you can hire one for just £1.50!

There’s also the amazing challenge ride - the Pendle Predator - on Sunday, August 7th, with the Eric Wright Cycle Show including stunt displays at the Rolls-Royce Sports Ground.

For the full programme go to www.pendle.gov.uk

Coun. Mike Blomeley Leader of Pendle Council said: “Colne Grand Prix is the fastest and most exciting sporting event in Colne. And we’re delighted to welcome the UK’s top racing cyclists. Come along and experience the thrills and spills.”

Local riders taking part in this year’s race include 2008 Colne Grand Prix winner Ian Wilkinson from Barnoldswick and Paul Oldham from Trawden. Paul said: “It’s going to be a fantastic day! We’re hoping for good weather because it always makes it even more enjoyable taking part.”

Colne’s Steven Burke, Olympic cycling medallist, added: “I’m very excited to be taking part. Last year was the first time I took part and I really liked the circuit. It’s great riding in front of a home crowd because they spur me on even more!”

This year’s Colne Grand Prix is being sponsored by cottages4you.