Elite cyclists get in saddle as prestigious race returns

The countdown is on for the return of the Chorley Grand Prix - and people around the borough are being encouraged to get involved.

Friday, 26th February 2016, 1:34 pm
Updated Friday, 26th February 2016, 2:35 pm
The start of the Chorley Grand Prix last year

The country’s top cyclists will take to the borough’s roads in less than a month as the elite cycling race is back on Saturday, March 26.

It will start and finish on Park Road in Chorley, with the cyclists taking on a five-lap 115-mile route through Chorley, Limbrick, Rivington, Belmont, Abbey Village, Withnell, Brinscall, Wheelton and Buckshaw Village.

The race marks the start of the British Cycling Elite Road Race Series for 2016 and is being organised by Chorley Council and British Cycling, with sponsorship from Chorley Building Society.

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Cyclists tackling last year's race. Photo by Chris Meads

People are being encouraged to show their support for the cyclists, with suggestions including knitting features along the route, decorating old bicycles, baking bicycle-themed cakes and lining the route to cheer them on.

Businesses could decorate their shop windows or create a special menu and there will be activities in a cycle village.

Coun Peter Wilson, deputy leader of Chorley Council, said: “Last year, it was great to see the decorated bicycles and bunting across the borough and the cycle village on Park Road had a brilliant family atmosphere. We would like to recreate that again this year but hopefully get even more people decorating their homes, get more businesses offering special promotions and see even more displays like the giant cyclist made of hay bales in the fields.

“Whether you attended last year or not, I would definitely recommend you join us along the route to watch this brilliant race and the country’s top cyclists. So far we’ve received entries from some of the best teams in the country including JLT Condor, NFTO and Team Wiggins, plus Preston’s Ian Bibby will be back to defend his title.”

Cyclists tackling last year's race. Photo by Chris Meads

Chief executive of Chorley And District Building Society, Stephen Penlington, added: “Over the next few weeks we’ll be going into schools with the council and encouraging pupils to create their own artwork in honour of the race plus we’ll be in the cycle village on the day with plenty of giveaways to create a noisy reception as the cyclists race up Park Road to the finish line.

“It will be another fantastic occasion for Chorley, showcasing our borough as a brilliant cycling destination and hopefully encouraging even more people to visit.”