The region is gearing up for the Doncaster Cycle Festival – which is expected to attract thousands of spectators and hundreds of riders to the town this weekend.
The event was hailed as a huge success last year and organisers are hailing today’s festival as being even bigger and better.
Racing will take place around a 1km closed town centre circuit, with the start and finish line in Sir Nigel Gresley Square.
More than 300 riders have entered the eight-race programme, from under 8s right up to senior elite level, and a number of paracyclists will also be taking part.
Last year’s elite race was won by double Olympic gold medalist Ed Clancy, and this year’s also features a high-calibre field. It will include former British circuit racing champion Graham Briggs, of Rossington, and double Olympian John Tanner, from Sprotbrough.
Aside from the laser-precision racing, there will also be number of stalls and attractions all day in the festival square to keep an expected crowd of more than 5000 people entertained.
Organiser Martin Maltby, President of Doncaster Wheelers Cycling Club, said: “Last year’s was a fantastic event for the town and the wider region, but the 2015 event will be even bigger and better.
“We have more riders entering and on the back of the popularity of last year, we expect even more spectators to turn up. Come along and enjoy a great day of dynamic racing.”
The town centre race returned last year after a break of about 30 years and was organised to herald the arrival of Le Grand Depart leg of the Tour de France in Yorkshire, which saw an estimated 2.5m people line the streets to watch the world’s top cyclists.
Mr Maltby, 47, of Edenthorpe, who also owns the Don Valley Cycles shop, said those events have sparked a cycling boom in the town, which he expects will continue.
He said: “Since the events of last year we have seen membership of cycling clubs go up and there seems to be more junior members taking part, which is great to see.
“With this year’s festival and the recent Tour de Yorkshire, which built on Le Grand Depart, all the signs are that cycling is becoming more and more popular.”
This year’s festival will feature 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 and more than 20 stalls offering advice on how to get into cycling and the health benefits it brings. Organisations such as Cycle Boost, Get Doncaster Cycling and British Cycling will be present along with emergency services, Public Health Doncaster and Doncaster College.
Health chiefs, civic leaders and business bosses are also supporting the event.
Doncaster mayor Ros Jones said: “The cycle festival has something for all the family and I would encourage everyone in Doncaster to attend.”
Tony Baxter, director of Public Health for Doncaster, added: “Taking part in cycling is a healthy way to spend time with the family, save money and be environmentally friendly.
“We are keen to get more people of all ages and abilities to use their bikes more often and the Doncaster Cycle Festival is a great way to encourage this.”
Dan Fell, chief executive officer of Doncaster Chamber, said the festival will also benefit the town economically.
He added: “The festival is another positive way for us to showcase the town on a national level, and puts us on the map once again as a fantastic tourist and leisure destination, which clearly has a positive economic impact locally.”
For more information visit www.doncastercyclefest.com, like doncastercyclefest on facebook or follower @DonCycleFest on Twitter.
Race start times and categories
Whinfrey Briggs Grand Prix
Start time: 3.30pm
Sponsored by Whinfrey Briggs
Women’s 2/3/4 Category
Start time: 2.30pm
Sponsored by HS Harbon and Sons Ltd
Men’s 3/4 Category
Start time: 1.30pm
Sponsored by Get Doncaster Cycling
Under 16s Boys
Start time: 12.15pm
Sponsored by Polypipe
Under 16s/14s Girls and Under 14s Boys
Start time: 11.15am
Sponsored by The Orthodontic Centre
Start time: 10.30am
Sponsored by BikeBoxAlan
Start time: 10am
Sponsored by Bicycle Buddy
Start time: 9.30am
Sponsored by Keepmoat