Professional Cycling Race to be held in Shrewsbury for first time in 20 years

A cycling race which is expected to attract thousands of enthusiasts and professionals from across the UK will be held in Shrewsbury for the first time in years, organisers revealed today.

The Shrewsbury Cycle Grand Prix, launched by the Shropshire-based Paramount Cycling Racing Team, will take place on May 25 with the full backing of British Cycling and will be a nationally ranked race.

Organisers today revealed details of the event for the first time including the closure of roads through part of the town centre as Crit racing, a tight circuit based cycle race, is enjoyed at high speed and action packed.

The top cyclists are expected to reach speeds of 40 miles per hour and the packed programme of events boasts a 45-minute ladies only race, an amateur race of around 50 minutes and an hour long pro-race.

Race organiser Ben Lawrence, managing director of Beaumont Lawrence which is sponsoring the event, along with Shrewsbury’s Stan’s Cycles, Cooper Green Pooks and Pure Communications, is also the racing team manager for the highly successful Paramount Performance Cycling Racing Team, which is formed of club members.

He said: “This is a real coup for Shrewsbury and will certainly give the business economy a welcome boost.

“It is hoped thousands of people will travel to the town over the bank holiday weekend for the first event of its kind in 20 years and will no doubt be staying in town hotels, shopping and using the local services.

“It has taken many months of organising but it is going to be a fantastic, family day and as cycling is so prominent at the moment perhaps we’ll be able to spot some of Shropshire’s rising sports stars.”

Mr Lawrence said each race would have 50 competitors taking to the course and there would be some “great competition and argy bargy on display.”

“It will be a tight, fast and technical circuit and when you add in Shrewsbury’s cobbles and the changes in gradient on the circuit, riders will have to be on top of their game to emerge victorious.

“It really should be quite a spectacle,” he said.

Mr Lawrence said that years ago, Shrewsbury used to have a town centre cycle race, and it quickly became one of the key local races of the season.

He said: “Paramount CRT is very keen to bring cycle racing back to Shrewsbury town centre.

“We have liaised closely with British Cycling who have helped fit this into a busy calendar of national racing and we hope a strong field of elite cyclists will enter.

“It will be a great spectacle for the town and coming just before the Tour de France heads to Yorkshire, it will really help cycling continue to grow in this county.”

The course will run around part of the town centre with The Square being the hub of the event. Roads will be closed to traffic from approximately mid morning until 8pm.

The route will take riders from The Square along High Street, Shoplatch, St Johns Hill, Cross Hill, Swan Hill, College Hill, Princess Street, Milk Street and then back on to the High Street.

Mr Lawrence said he hoped thousands of people would line the streets to cheer on the riders.

He said: “We want to create a festival atmosphere with stall holders selling food and drinks and we envisage having a PA system with commentary on the race as it happens as well as podium presentation after each race.

“We will also be organising a number of family-centered events in conjunction with Cycle Shrewsbury including a chance for families to try out the circuit and we really want the public to get behind the race and come out to watch.

“Crit racing is becoming more and more established in the UK. Our aim is to include local riders as well as seasoned professionals, which is why we decided to hold a number of races to promote cycling and competitive cycling to the wider community.”

Seasoned local racer Mike Jones and owner of Stan’s Cycles said the race will be a great event for Shrewsbury to host.

He said: “We wanted this to be a local event, with the chance for local riders to ride a circuit around their own hometown and then for the event to culminate with a spectacular pro race.

“The local business community have been fantastic in getting behind the event and offering sponsorship and Shropshire Council has also been terrific in helping to get the event off the ground.”

For more information about the Shrewsbury Cycle Grand Prix or to sign up, contact Ben Lawrence at Beaumont Lawrence on 01743 236767 or by emailing [email protected]

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Pete White Pete White

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