Gearing up for another fantastic cycle festival

(l-r) Andrew Belk, Tony Batty, and Martin Maltby, of Don Valley Cycles are giving away a Giant Defy 5 bike as a prize. Picture: Andrew Roe
(l-r) Andrew Belk, Tony Batty, and Martin Maltby, of Don Valley Cycles are giving away a Giant Defy 5 bike as a prize. Picture: Andrew Roe

Doncaster Cycle Festival will return again next year - and organisers say it will be bigger and better than ever.

This year’s event was hailed as a huge success and saw thousands of spectators line the streets to cheer on hundreds of riders, from youngsters to elite level competitors, as they darted around a town centre circuit.

Doncaster Cycle Festival. Mens race winners l/r James Moss (3rd), Ed Clancy (1st) and Dean Downing (2nd).  Picture: Malcolm Billingham

Doncaster Cycle Festival. Mens race winners l/r James Moss (3rd), Ed Clancy (1st) and Dean Downing (2nd). Picture: Malcolm Billingham

It was also highlighted in an annual health report on the borough, which detailed how cycling has helped to boost the health and well-being of Doncaster residents generally.

In his annual report, Dr Tony Baxter, director of public health for Doncaster Council, said the authority would work with organisers to “build on the fantastic success” of this year’s event in a number of ways.

Aside from the festival, the Get Doncaster Cycling programme, in which dozens of organised family-friendly cycle rides take place throughout the year, is set to return.

There will be a full programme of organised Sky Ride’s and the continuation of the Cycle Boost scheme to encourage people to ride to work and Bikeability to improve youngsters riding proficiency will be delivered in schools.

Doncaster Cycle Festival'Boys Under 16

Doncaster Cycle Festival'Boys Under 16

Major races such as the Tickhill Grand Prix and Cusworth Hill Climb will also be back.

The report said the festival alone boosted the town’s economy by £266,000, and the wider cycling programme is expected to have generated even more income.

Organiser Martin Maltby confirmed the festival will be back next year on Sunday, May 31, and visitors can expect much the same – a fantastic day of dynamic cycle racing.

The 46-year-old Edenthorpe man said: “Everyone said this year’s event was a fantastic success, from sporting clubs to business leaders, health and council bodies and the community.

“We had a de-brief on the night of the festival and decided there and then that it would return. Since then we have had monthly meetings with Doncaster Council and are well on with the organising of it.

“It was a fantastic year for cycling in this area with the Tour de France coming through Yorkshire and we are sure next year’s festival will be even bigger and better.

“We hope we can grow the success of the festival every year and have a lasting legacy to encourage new generations to get into cycling.”

Much like June’s festival, next year’s races will take place around a 1km closed town centre circuit, with the start and finish line in Sir Nigel Gresley Square.

There will be live commentary provided by British Cycling and a podium to present winners with their medals.

The square will also be host to a live brass band more than 30 stalls offering advice on how to get into cycling and the health benefits it brings.

The number of races will be expanded from seven to eight to allow for more junior riders, and organisers expect 400 riders to take part, 50 more than this year.

The race has also been elevated from ‘National B’ to ‘National A’ status, giving it more prominence on the British Cycling calendar.

Mr Maltby, who also owns the Don Valley Cycles shop, said: “This means it will be the only cycle race that weekend in the country for elite riders. We had double Olympic gold medal winner Ed Clancy here this year and we are hoping for some big names again next year.

“Elite riders such as Graham Briggs, Russell Downing, Tom Stewart and former Olympian John Tanner have all already pledged to ride or at least support the festival.

“There was about 5000 spectators this year and we hope to beat that with an expanded festival next year.”