ONE OF Britain’s finest cyclists visited Stockton Borough yesterday (Monday 13 June) to check out the course before defending their title during the highly anticipated Stockton Cycling Festival 2016.
Hayley Simmonds, Women’s National Time Trial Champion, completed a tour of the course which heads out along Stockton Riverside toward Queen Elizabeth Way and back along the A1130/A135 before a thrilling finish in Stockton Town Centre.
With the title that she won in Lincoln at last year’s national championships on the line, Hayley was keen to get to grips with Stockton and the surrounding areas.
“This is a very technical course and it offers a different challenge to Lincoln last year. I thought the out-of-town course would be flat but it’s a lot more up and down than I realised but it is a good mix of technical town centre route and the pure grunt of the rest.
“I’ve never raced in this part of the world before so I’m very much looking forward to defending my national title in Stockton but there are also some nerves there too!”
Councillor Norma Wilburn, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Arts, Leisure and Culture, said: “It’s fantastic to see the Women’s National Time Trial Champion visiting Stockton to prepare for the defence of her title in the town.
“The arrival of elite riders like Hayley will be a common sight at the Stockton Cycling Festival and there’s some real and palpable excitement building now as this celebration of cycling draws near.”
Some of the Stockton Cycling Festival ambassadors were on hand to welcome Hayley to Stockton.
Lydia Jordan said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see some of the world’s greatest cyclists like Hayley Simmonds, Lizzie Armitstead and Mark Cavendish on our doorstep – how lucky we are!”
Richard Carter said: “It is really good to see the Council supporting cycling in such a big way and inspiring the next generation of future cyclists.”
And for those feeling inspired and motivated by the upcoming summer of sport in Stockton, budding cyclists are being reminded that the deadline is approaching to secure a spot in the Stockton Sportive taking place in between Friday’s youth races and Sunday’s Championships.
Participants can choose their challenge from the Spin (36.7 miles), Sport (50 miles), Challenge (72 miles) and Le Tour De Moor (105.8 miles) distances.
Now in its sixth year the four Sportive routes on offer take in stunning scenery across Stockton Borough, out into the North Yorkshire Moors, before returning to Stockton Riverside alongside the River Tees.
Registration for the popular event closes at midnight on Wednesday 15 June and prices range from £15 to £25 depending on the distance chosen.
For full information about what is on offer at the Stockton Cycling Festival 2016, visit www.stockton.gov.uk/scf
There are road closures and restrictions across the duration of this event. For full information, visit www.stockton.gov.uk/cyclingclosures